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S. G. & E. L. ELBERT 

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Depository, No. 28 West Fourth Street. 

Copyright secured to the 


Cincinnati, Ohio. 


For the privilege of having been permitted to deliver 
these discourses without interruption, and with a cordial 
answering sympathy on the part of the public, I thank 
God and take courage. Seldom have I found a heart 
more thirsty for divine truth, more attentive under it, and 
more manifestly responding to it, and grateful for it, than 
in the great congregations whom God in his good prov- 
idence brought out to listen to these sermons. I com- 
menced them, much questioning as to the result, but 
determined to leave consequences to God, and to proclaim, 
out and out, the whole truth in his word in regard to the 
great reigning and destroying sin of our country. I en- 
deavored to do this to the best of my ability. The event 
was, that instead of driving men away in anger, the asser- 
tion of the freedom of the pulpit, and the proof of it from 
the prophets and apostles, and the use of it in demonstrat- 
ing the sinfulness of slavery, brought thousands on thou- 
sands to hear. They came, desiring to learn what God 
had really said in His word in regard to slavery. The 
church could not contain the multitudes that thronged, 
night after night, to listen to a simple, plain exhibition of 
God's own truth, in regard to the guilt of this iniquity in 
His sight, and the inevitable consequences of it, if per- 
sisted in. 


Undoubtedly, Old Testament truth is a strange thing 
to many; they are not aware how it burns, how it cuts, 
how it probes and pierces, as a discern er and reprover of 
sin, and how the mighty Hebrew prophets, ever living, 
ever new, seem to hold a grand inquest over our organic 
iniquities, and to walk among us with the writer's ink- 
horn, and the measuring plumb-lines of the Mosaic laws. 
The people, generally, are glad to witness these opera- 
tions. The people love to hear God's word demonstrat- 
ing and rebuking the iniquity of slavery ; and it is only 
crooked politicians, and political Christians, and preach- 
ers standing in awe of them; who cry out against it, and 
call it political preaching. This vulgar watchword is los- 
ing all its terrors, and begins to be, as it deserves to be, 
thoroughly despised. 

The people prefer freedom, and are glad to find that 
God's word not only does not sanction slavery, but is 
against it, wholly and utterly, from beginning to end. 
But those men who prefer slavery along with freedom, 
slavery for others and freedom for themselves, and whose 
plan is to combine both, and give them the same sanction 
and the same rights everywhere, would be glad to find 
some support of slavery, some shield for it in God's word ; 
and, if any one could demonstrate from God's word that 
slavery is right, he might do that from the pulpit ad in- 
finitum, and they would not regard it at all as political 
preaching, but as simply the genuine meekness of wisdom 
preaching peace by Jesus Christ, and the very perfection 
of gospel conservatism. There are many who, without 
the least wincing, will hear you preach about the slavery 


of sin, but not one word will they endure about the sin of 

I have been delighted to find a great enthusiasm among 
young men, for the freedom of God's word in dealing with 
the iniquity of oppression. They feel that it is no neces- 
sary part of religion to put down, or conceal, or crucify, 
our native impulses in behalf of freedom, or our native 
sense of justice against cruelty and wrong. They have 
but little sympathy with those who make political or 
commercial expediency, in regard to great questions of 
right or wrong, the Urim and Thummim of their divinest 

The series of discourses began with an examination of 
the dreadful influence and consequences of unrighteous 
law, as illustrated in the history of the Hebrews, under 
the light of the prophets. Now, in consenting to throw 
several of them into a volume, I have taken the liberty of 
breaking them up into twenty chapters, both for the sake 
of introducing some details into the argument, which 
could not be condensed in speaking within compass of the 
time given to a sermon, and also to relieve and sustain 
the attention of the reader, and give greater prominence 
to the principles developed in the discussion. 

I am more than ever convinced of the right and duty 
of every preacher of God's word to preach on this subject, 
as contained in His word, and to show the people how He 
regards it ; and the providence that directs and overrules 
all things is manifesting more clearly than ever the wick- 
edness of the attempt to shield slavery from the reproba- 
tion of God's word, by denouncing every mention of it as 


political preaching. That outcry is more likely to cover 
up a jealousy against religion in politics, than any real 
hatred of politics in religion. To the law and to the 
testimony : should not the people seek unto their God ? 
And if their leaders speak not according to His word, it 
is because there is no light in them. 

The volume is affectionately and respectfully 
dedicated to the young men of my own congrega- 
tion, and to all lovers of freedom and truth in 
all places. 



Chap. I.— shall the throne op iniquity have fellowship with 


Chap. II. — the prevalence and power of unrighteous law, and 


Chap. III. — compulsion by the government, enacting wicked laws 


Chap. IV. — dan and bethel in new york, and the worship of the 


Chap. V. — obligations of the pulpit in the sight of god— hypoc- 


Chap. VI.— glory and freedom of the word of god in its uni- 

Chap. VII, — god's wrath against slavery in jeremiah xxxiv. 17 — 


Chap. VIII.— objections urged against the mention of this sin — 


Chap. IX. — demonstration of the sinfulness of slavery — argu- 

Chap. X. — the wrath of god against the jews for the attempted 


Chap. XI.— doing evil that good may come — the gospel of 





Chap. XIV. — ownership in man not possible — forbidden in the 


Chap. XV. — no restoring of runaway servants — the Hebrews for- 

behalf of the servant, and not the master — demonstration 
from this law that human beings can not be property — 
Paul's epistle to Philemon in the light of this law — the 
assertion that the word of god sanctions slavery an impious 

LIBEL 140 

Chap. XVI. — jubilee statute of universal freedom — its applica- 

Chap. XVII. — the jubilee-contract of service for the heathen 
— every contract perfectly voluntary— usage of the word 
buy — servants bought by voluntary contract w r ith them- 
selves, but not of a third party — the family inheritance of 
service till the jubilee — both hebrew and heathen servants 
free — no property in man ever sanctioned 158 

Chap. XVIII. — god's judgments against slavery prove it to be 

LABOR .". 162 

Chap. XIX. — the combination of demonstration— solemnity of our 
responsibilities — the individual responsibility — province of 
the pulpit to proclaim the religious responsibility of a vote 170 

(jhap. xx. — the one question before us — pretensions and de- 
mands of slavery— the consequences if we yield to them — 
guilt of extending slavery, and setting it at the vitals of 
a new state or territory — the perpetual agitation and 
power of conscience 176 

Address on the subject of the iniquity of the extension of 


A Discourse on the divinely- appointed freedom of the pulpit, 
the senate, and the press 238 



Psalm xciv. 20. 

There are plenty of answers to this question in 
the Word of God ; but the most startling and over- 
whelming is the answer by divine judgment, in the 
destruction of the thrones and kingdoms of Israel and 
Judah. We have but to trace a few steps in the 
Jewish history, and we find lessons that, for the 
closeness of their application to our own period, and 
people, and country, and the terror of their warning 
against our own legalized and cherished sins, are 
absolutely appalling. Would to God we might lay 
them to our heart ! 

The time from the beginning of the Hebrew king- 
dom under Saul to its division under Rehoboam, the 
son and successor of Solomon, was not much longer 
than that which has elapsed from our revolutionary 
war to the present day. And the progress of the 
nation had been about as rapid and mighty as our 
own. What a prodigious difference between the state 
of the people and the extent of the kingdom at the 

beginning of Saul's reign, and the close of Solomon's ! 



In this brief time, cities rose as by enchantment, and 
territories were added, and brought under the one 
great confederation, till the fame of its prosperity, 
and the fear of its greatness, filled the world. 

But in the midst of all this, the causes of ruin 
grew on with frightful rapidity ; luxury, aristocracy, 
grandeur, riches, pride, family-wealth and rivalry, 
insolence, commerce with Egypt and with foreign 
countries, bringing in alliances, intermarriages, the 
imitation of foreign vices and customs, and at length 
the open, undisguised, and heaven-defying establish- 
ment #f idolatry for Solomon's pagan concubines and 
wivts. The wisest of kings had grown the maddest 
in his rebellion against God, and his iniquitous ex- 
ample before his people. By his own vices he had 
conducted the country from the climax of power and 
greatness to the verge of ruin. In the greatest 
apparent grandeur of its prosperity, none but God 
knew the precipice on which the kingdom tottered, 
nor how soon its proud union was to be dissolved for- 
ever. There it was, strong and mighty in appear- 
ance, yet instantly to be riven, as when the frost splits 
a rock, or one last blow upon the wedge rives the 
oak asunder. The blow descends from God, the 
kingdoms separate, and thenceforward, what a career 
of warning to all the nations of the earth is theirs ? 

The lead in wickedness was assumed by Israel 
under Jeroboam, as one of the separate and rival 
kingdoms ; the first great national step in open sin 


was his. By what he considered a master-stroke of 
policy, but which proved his ruin, he set up the two 
golden calves, to serve for the uses of his kingdom, 
in place of the worship of the Temple at Jerusalem. 
The one he inaugurated at Bethel, and the other at 
Dan, and proclaimed to all the people, with the 
semblance of the kindest consideration for their wants 
and fatherly compassion for their burdens, it is too 
much for you, too irksome and too great a task, to go 
up to Jerusalem at the times appointed in the service 
of the temple ; these will answer for your gods, 
ye people ! These shall be to you the representatives 
of the gods that brought you up out of the land of 
Egypt, and here shall you rejoice in your worship ! 
The appointed ministers of God's worship, who would 
not subscribe to these decrees of the king and his 
government, were ejected from their offices, and in 
their places Jeroboam appointed an idolatrous priest- 
hood from the riff-raff of the people ; whoever was 
willing so accept a devil's chaplaincy under his gov- 
ernment, him he set to work in the ministration of 
oblations and of incense before those golden calves ; 
and so the people, the king, and Baal, were all served 
and glorified, flattered and cajoled, at one and the 
same time. 

And so the thing became a stately sin, a systema- 
tized organic iniquity ; and the people went to worship 

before one or the other of these calves, even unto 

t 7 

Dan. The topography of these places is the best 


illustration of the passage, and for want of the con- 
sideration of that matter, the force of the history 
is nearly lost. One of them, Dan, was at the ex- 
treme north ; the other, Bethel, at the extreme south, 
on the borders of Jeroboam's kingdom. The whole 
of Jeroboam's kingdom lay north of Judah. If he 
had set up both calves at Dan, it would have been too 
far north to attract his subjects of the south ; if he 
had set them up in Bethel only, the people of the 
north coming down so far as that for worship, would 
have been tempted to continue their journey a few 
miles further to Jerusalem itself. But up at Dan he 
caught in the snare all the population of the north, 
and down at Bethel all the inhabitants of the south. 
And by setting at the heart of Bethel the whole circle 
of his priesthood, and making the ceremonies of the 
worship there both gorgeous and attractive, he caught 
as in a great Vanity Fair nearly all unstable persons, 
whose consciences might have startled them on a 
pilgrimage for the Holy City, to engage in the wor- 
ship of the Temple itself. Passing through Bethel, 
they would stop to gaze at the golden calves, they 
would enter into conversation with the worshipers 
there, they would be met by temptations and seduct- 
ive bribes, and in the state of moral debauchery to 
which the conduct of Solomon had reduced the nation, 
it was not difficult to make any, except the most truly 
conscientious of the people, believe that they could 
serve both God and Mammon. 


Jeroboam must have sounded the heart of the 
nation, and must have known that he could calculate 
on the idolatrous disposition of the people, otherwise 
he never would have dared to propose such a measure. 
But he had watched the passions of men, and he 
knew well how deeply the examples, and the idolatrous 
shrines, made so familiar by Solomon, had corrupted 
the people, and how far he could himself rely upon 
them. Besides, he is supposed to have set guards 
on the borders of the kingdom between Judah and 
Israel, at the feast times especially, to prevent his 
subjects from crossing the line, and going up to the 
Temple in obedience to the law of God. And so, 
between allurements and force, between his lies and 
compulsion, between the power of law, unrighteous, 
and the examples of the great multitude obeying it as 
righteous, he succeeded in quieting the most troubled 
and audacious consciences, and induced his people to 
believe that inasmuch as this worship at the altars of 
the calves was commanded by law, and they were 
bound to obey magistrates, and not to set themselves 
against the government, it might and must be consid- 
ered a permitted substitute for the Temple worship. 
Moreover, the payment of tithes seems to have been 
done away, when Jeroboam turned the Levites out of 
office, and put in a set of his own priests to do his 
bidding; and that was an exemption which woul.l 
please the covetous multitude greatly. The king well 
knew how to make up for the loss ; he could extort 


from them in other ways double what the willing 
support of the true worship of God would have cost 

Now this whole mighty revolution, first, in the 
establishment of Jeroboam's authority and kingdom as 
foreign and separate from that of Rehoboam, and 
second, in the impious establishment of a new and 
separate religious worship, the commixture of idolatry 
and the divine law under one and the same form, 
would necessitate new laws, and would bring about, in 
many points, inevitably, a conflict between the statutes 
of the kingdom and the statutes of God. But the 
people chose to obey man rather than God. They 
agreed, as men do now, when they blasphemously set 
the laws of a human government higher than God's law, 
that the law of the land, right or wrong, must be obeyed 
at all hazards, and that to teach otherwise is to teach 
rebellion. They said that the statutes of the king 
and his government must be obeyed, and "they will- 
ingly walked after the commandment/ " as the accusa- 
tion is brought against them for doing this by the 
prophet Hosea ; so that the characteristic description 
of this monarch, up to the time of Omri and Ahab, 
who each set new iniquities a going, and framed laws 
still more infamous, was that of "Jeroboam the son 
of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." 

The obedience of the people to such a monarch and 
government in such commanded sins, was rebellion 
against God ; and rebellion against the monarch and 


government would have been obedience to God. 
And God by his prophets plainly denounced ven- 
geance against the nation, for thus preferring to obey 
man's laws rather than God's. Your very blessings 
shall be blasted, said he, and you shall be swept with 
desolation, delivered up to captivity and the sword, 
because you have kept the statutes of Omri, and 
all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk 
in their counsels. Ye have turned judgment into 
gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock. 

Through the impious policy of Jeroboam, and the 
consent and submission of the people, it thus came 
about that the separation of the ten tribes was as the 
building of a vast reservoir of iniquity in Israel ; a 
fountain of atheism and licentiousness, of which the 
people continued drinking to the latest generations, 
^ forsaking God, and the cold-flowing waters of his 
sanctuary, and hewing them out cisterns of Satan, and 
springs of the vilest abominations. 



Here we have come upon a marked and mighty 
era. The separation of this great Hebrew kingdom 
into two, and the establishment of these regal and 
governmental dynasties and machineries, not only 
constituted the most important revolution since the 
deluge, and the greatest event of all the history of 
empire up to that time, but it had consequences, and 
it set in motion tides of principle and courses of 
action, that made a stratum in men's morals and char- 
acter; it was a dispensation, a period of social and 
governmental theory of life, as distinct as any period 
in all the formations of geology. The periods of 
granite primordial foundation, and of fossiliferous 
rocky strata, and of alluvial deposits, are not more 
strongly marked and demonstrated, or more import- 
ant as demonstrations in themselves of the mighty 
changes in the globe. The thing not justifies only, 
but commands our careful study; it ought not to be 
passed over with a superficial view. 

For here began the wide, germinating, sweeping 


habit of rebellion against God under cover of obe- 
dience to man ; that plague in the body politic and 
social, worse than the yellow fever, worse than any 
pestilence ever begotten or active among men, of a 
supreme submissive regard to the laws of a human 
government rather than the laws of God. It is in 
this respect a most prominent and awful era ; a period 
marked, as you will see, all along the record of the 
history, down to the time when the kingdom was 
swept from existence, as the period of the sins of 
Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to 
sin. The first book of Kings ends, as its course has 
often been signalized, with that stigma, that scar, that 
trench of God's wrath, and of moral infamy in the 
cause and subject of it. 

Ahab and Jezebel were the next grand incarnation 
of such wickedness. And as upon the surface of the 
globe, when a roaring cataract or deluge has passed 
over it, there are left huge mountain cliffs, frowning 
over the country in front, and behind them a sloping 
trail of land where the soil has gathered and held on, 
indicating which way the convulsion and the torrent 
rolled forward, so stand these monarch forms, rent, 
blasted, blackened, the leaders of the people's apos- 
tacy from God, and the landmarks of His vengeance. 
And from one to the other, it seems as if you could 
still hear the thunders roar and reverberate. Look 
back to the 21st chapter of the first book of Kings, 
and mark the interview between Elijah the prophet 


and Ahab in Naboth's vineyard, and you find in the 
person and character of that monarch the defiant pin- 
nacle on which God's wrathful lightning descended. 
" Thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of 
the Lord ; and I will make thine house like the house 
of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, for the provocation 
wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made 
Israel to sin." And look back still further to the 
16th chapter, 25th and 26th verses, to the person 
and character of Omri, who wrought the same evil in 
the sight of the Lord, and did worse than all before 
him, for he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the 
son of Nebat, and in his sin, wherewith he made 
Israel to sin. And then, before him, look back to 
Baasha, and before him, to Nadab, the immediate 
successor and son of Jeroboam. The voice of every 
peal of thunder, and the sentence trenched by every 
flash of lightning, is the same dreadful accusation, 
Thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast 


And how was it ? What does this repeated phrase 
in the indictment cover up? How could the man 
carry all Israel with him in his wickedness ? Mere 
example could not have done it ; permission could not 
have done it ; bribes could not have done it, nor per- 
suasion, nor the inherent temptations of devil-worship. 
No ! But in league with all these influences, law 
could do it ; the State power could forcibly persuade, 
and if the people would yield up their conscience, the 


government would find no opposition to their most 
impious enactments. We learn the secret from Micah 
and Hosea, two of the prophets cotemporary in the 
days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. "For the 
statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the 
house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels, that I 
should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants 
thereof a. hissing." "The princes of Judah were 
like than that remove the bound; therefore will I 
pour out my wrath upon them like water. Ephraim 
is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he 


It was thus that the king, the princes, the govern- 
ment, by their unconstitutional and infamous legisla- 
tion, by new enactments, framed on purpose, MADE 
Israel to sin. You gather this demonstration from 
the history and the prophets together ; and this is one 
of the points in which you see the usefulness and 
importance of a close comparative study of the 
prophets by the history, and the history by the 

It was a usurpation, under color of law, thus 
forced upon the people, and the experiment being 
once successful, then, in giving up their conscience, 
and renouncing their allegiance to God, they surren- 
dered all their liberties. They should have resisted 
at the outset ; but there are never wanting those, who 
affirm that law is to be obeyed at all hazards, the 
moment it is law, no matter of what character. So, 


by the power and majesty of unrighteous law, 
which is as when the starry angel, first in heaven's 
ranks, brightest of the sons of the morning, drew after 
him the third part of heaven in his rebellion, the king 
and the government compelled the people. For 
because of the original majesty, the awfulness, the 
reverential glory, the transcendant importance of law, 
even its perversion wears the semblance of its author- 
ity ; even bad law, wicked law, accursed law, appears 
not less than archangel ruined, and men bow down to 
it, and worship it, and range themselves under ' its 
banners, especially when popular and profitable sins 
are protected by it. Sometimes, under its pressure, 
men must have the firmness of Abdiel to stand up 
against it, and nothing but God's word and His 
righteousness in their hearts will enable them to 
do it. 

This usurpation began in Israel. But you are not 
to suppose this kind of wickedness was the exclusive 
property of that kingdom. You might have imag- 
ined that after such a divulsion of the tribes, the 
separation between Israel and Judah would have been 
so wide, and the enmity so mortal, that certainly the 
torrent of these devilish iniquities could not have 
crossed the gulf, and rolled over the house and king- 
dom of David. But where the heart is not right 
with God, occasion can easily be found for any wick- 
edness. There was a mine of Satan's combustibles in 
the bosom of Judah ready to be fired ; and there was 


an elective affinity, a power, of attraction by evil 
examples, instead of repulsion by disgust ; there was 
an electric intelligence and fire of depravity shooting 
from one side to the other. You have but to run 
your eye down to the 8th chapter of the 2d Book of 
Kings, and the 15th, 16th, and 17th verses, and you 
discover the secret. u In the fifth year of Joram, the 
son of Ahab, king of Israel, Jehoram, the son of 
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, began to reign in Jeru- 
salem. And he walked in the way of the kings of 
Israel, as did the house of Ahab ; for the daughter 
of Ahab was his %vife ) and he did evil in the sight of 
the Lord." Here you have the bridge, the tele- 
graphic wires, the sympathies. And running on to 
the 26th verse you have another step, the son of 
Jehoram reigning in Jerusalem, and his mother's 
name was Athaliah, the granddaughter of 0?nri, 
king of Israel. And he walked in the way of the 
house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, 
as did the house of Ahab ; for he was the son-in-law 
of the house of Ahab. And in 2 Chron. xxii. 3, 4, it 
is added, that his mother urns his counselor to do 
wickedly ; wherefore he did evil in the sight of the 
Lord like the house of Ahab ; for they were his coun- 
selors after the death of his father to his destruction. 
The singular intensity of wickedness, the eminent 
and inveterate profligacy and malignity accumulated 
in this family, as the force of galvanism collected in 
a complicated battery, will be better understood, if 


you consider that Ahah, as if it had been a light thing 
for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of 
Nebat, took to wife Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, 
king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and 
worshiped him. Him, king Ahab, and the murder- 
ess his wife, Elijah the Tishbite confronted. These 
related and confederate families of Israel and Judah 
threw over their kingdoms a net-work of the same 
diabolical statutes ; and to these enactments, and the 
terrors used in their enforcement, the sacred historian 
refers, when it is recorded, as in 2 Chron. xxi. 11, 
that the king of Judah caused the inhabitants of Je- 
rusalem to commit fornication, and compelled them 
into all this wickedness. So this mighty sin passed 
into vogue in Judah, and from Ahab and Jezebel's 
families, in connection with Jeroboam's, it ran on, till 
in the kingdom and house of David itself, Manasseh 
went far beyond even Ahab in the form, the magni- 
tude, and the monstrousness of his sins. And of him it 
is said in 2 Chron. xxxiii. 9, 10, that Manasseh made 
Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and 
to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had de- 
stroyed before the children of Israel. And the Lord 
spake to Manasseh and to his people, but they would 
not hearken. And in 2 Kings xxi. 9, 11, God de- 
clares that Manasseh seduced the people to do more 
abominable and horrible wickedness than even the 
Amorites, and made Judah to sin with his idols, be- 
sides filling Jerusalem from one end to the other with 
innocent blood. 



Now in this account we have the fact of a compul- 
sion laid by the government upon the people, to 
drive them into sin, to constrain them, and force 
obedience to the statutes of an idol worship. But 
this compulsion was no other than the choice of obey- 
ing other statutes than God's. Being compelled to 
disobey either God's law or the king's, they chose to 
disobey God's, alleging, perhaps, that whatever laws 
the government enacted, they were bound to obey, 
God's law to the contrary notwithstanding. Some- 
times the princes took the lead, and proposed the 
enactment of mischief by a law, according to the ref- 
erences in Hos. v. 10, and xiii. 2, the princes remov- 
ing the bound, and enacting that those who sacrificed 
shall kiss the calves. So in 2 Chron. xxiv. 17, 18, 
after the death of Jehoiada the priest, we have the 
princes coming, and making obeisance to the king, 
and the king hearkening to them, and all together 
leaving the house of the Lord God of their fathers, 


and serving groves and idols. All this information 
is concentrated finally in the 17th chapter of the 2d 
book of Kings, where the whole transcript of the 
people's wickedness, and of God's final wrath upon 
them for it, is so solemnly summed up. For they 
walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord 
cast out from before the children of Israel, and in the 
statutes of the kings of Israel, which they had 
made. Also Judah kept not the commandments of 
the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of 
Israel which they made ; walked in all the sins of 
Jeroboam which he did, and departed not from them. 
Now it is impossible to find any thing in all his- 
tory more terribly instructive than all this. It shows 
the mutual responsibility of government and people, 
both to one another and to God, and the consequences 
of disregarding it. It shows the manner in which 
the responsibility and guilt of government and people 
may get inextricably involved and entangled, and un- 
less there be in the people a conscience of resistance 
in behalf of God, they go to ruin together. It shows 
that wicked laws are no authentication or excuse of 
personal wickedness, nor any authorization of disobe- 
dience to God. They are not to he obeyed, but on 
the contrary denounced and rejected ; and only by 
being thus faithful to God, can a people keep their 
freedom. And while it shows that a people are on 
the high road to ruin, who will suffer and obey wicked 
statutes, it also show3 the terrific responsibility and 


wickedness of those who concoct and endeavor to en- 
force such statutes, and who set the example of such 
iniquity. If there be a lower deep in hell than any 
other deep, such men will, beyond all question, occupy 
it, along with those who have put out or concealed the 
light of God's word, and have put up false lights to 
lure men upon the breakers. It is such as these, 
whom God gives judicially over to a reprobate mind, 
to be filled with all unrighteousness ; who, knowing 
the judgment of God, that they who commit such 
things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but 
have pleasure in them that do them. 

Nothing can go beyond this wickedness; it is a 
fountain sin, a germinating sin, an accumulating and 
multiplying sin, a sin that causes and compels others 
to sin, a sin that enlarges from generation to genera- 
tion all the way into the eternal world. If it brings 
a million under its power this year, it may bring two 
millions the next ; this generation ten, the next gen- 
eration twenty. Cursed be he that maketh the blind 
to wander out of the way ; and all the people shall 
say, Amen ! But he that strikes out the eyesight of 
a whole nation, that obliterates the law of justice and 
humanity, and sets in its place statutes of injustice and 
inhumanity, and thus compels a nation so blinded, to 
wander in iniquity, what shall be said of such a mon- 
ster ? What curse is heavy enough for such an in- 
carnation of malignity, or what curse can measure in 
retribution the dreadful consequences of such crime ? 



Of all evil things, law, that embodies in itself the ex- 
ample of wrong, the instruction, the authority, sanc- 
tion, justification, and command of injustice and op- 
pression, in principle and in act, is the highest and 
the worst. It is worse than arsenic in the fountain ; it 
is poison for the souls of men, poison for the great heart 
of society, running through all the veins, and corrupt- 
ing the whole system. Well did Edmund Burke say, 
that of all bad things, bad laws are the very worst, 
and that they derive a particular malignity from the 
good laws in their company, under which they take 

If a system of wicked laws be deliberately con- 
trived, and fastened on a people for the purpose of 
consolidating and rendering immovable the govern- 
mental despotism, and if, under those laws, a system 
of immorality and cruelty is inaugurated as the central 
fountain of the country's policy, to enter into both 
the domestic and civil life of the people, to regulate 
all their institutions, to impose conditions on the gospel 
itself, to compel men in every sphere of society, every 
branch of commerce, every agency of active business, 
to swear faithfulness to that immoral interest ; and if 
the word of God itself, for the sake of shielding all 
this iniquity, is either suppressed or perverted, what 
really is the attitude of such a people toward God, 
and what their character in his sight ? Can any 
thing cover up this wickedness ? 

But suppose that, along with such a system, there 


is inserted in it a provision, not of improvement or 
correction, but rendering correction or repeal impos- 
sible. Suppose that a guard is imposed on purpose 
to perpetuate such a system, without change or ame- 
lioration, by which indeed any attempt at change is to 
be punished as treason. All these ingenious elements 
of evil were in the diabolical statutes, with which 
Jeroboam and the like kingly instruments of Satan, 
subjected the people to his sway. And all these in- 
genious elements of evil are in those execrable laws 
now being enforced at the point of United States 
bayonets in Kansas ; laws acknowledged to be an 
utter usurpation, publicly demonstrated as such by the 
House of Representatives in Congress assembled, and 
therefore unconstitutional, null, and void. And yet 
the people commanded to obey them ! Can any pro- 
fessions of religion induce God to wink at such wick- 
edness, or to connive at the prostitution of religion 
itself for its support ? God's own voice shall answer ; 
you shall have his own judgment from the prophets : 
" Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, 
and that write grievousness which they have pre- 
scribed, to turn aside the needy from judgment, and 
to take away the right from the poor of my people. 
Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with 
thee, which frameth mischief by a law ? He shall 
bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut 
them off in their own wickedness ; yea, the Lord our 
God shall cut them off." If a man could take the 


bolt of God's thunder in his hand, and could flash the 
lightning right in the face of a tyrannical, usurping 
legislator, there could not be any thing more direct 
than this. And is not this to be preached ? And if 
the government of any nation be guilty of this sin, is 
it not to be charged upon them ? Is not the country 
where this wickedness is perpetrated the very place, 
and the generation in which and against which it is 
perpetrated, the very time to rebuke it, and in the 
name of God declare his testimony against it ? And 
on whom rests the responsibility of doing this, and 
who have the right and authority from God to do it, 
but his own appointed preachers of the word ? And 
will any man dare to call this political preaching ? It 
is indeed the bringing of religion into politics, accord- 
ing to God's command, and the application of the 
instructions and principles of God's word to the con- 
duct of the nation and the people, and such applica- 
tion the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah were com- 
manded to make, and our Lord Jesus conjoined upon 
the preachers of the Gospel the same faithfulness. 
u Cry aloud; spare not; lift up thy voice like a 
trumpet; show my people their transgressions, and 
the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me 
daily, and delight to know my ways, is a nation that 
did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of 
their God. They take delight in approaching to 
God." And yet, besides the delineation continued 
in that chapter, here is their character by the same 


prophet: "A rebellious people, lying children, chil- 
dren that will not hear the law of the Lord. Which 
say to the seers, See not, and to the prophets, Pro- 
phesy not unto us right things ; speak unto us smooth 
things ; prophesy deceits. Get ye out of the way ; 
turn aside out of the path ; cause the Holy One of 
Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore, thus saith 
the Holy One of Israel, because ye despise this word, 
and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay 
thereon, therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a 
breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, 
whose breaking cometh suddenly in an instant." 
"For the leaders of this people cause them to err, 
and they that are led of them are destroyed. There- 
fore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, 
neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and 
widows ; for every one is a hypocrite and an evil-doer, 
and every mouth speaketh villainy. They call evil 
good, and good evil ; they put darkness for light, and 
light for darkness. They justify the wicked for 
reward, and take away the righteousness of the 
righteous from him. Therefore, as the fire devoureth 
the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so 
^heir root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom 
shall go up as dust ; because they have cast away the 
law of the Lord, and despised the word of the Holy 
One of Israel." 

And every one of the prophets corresponds in his 
testimony with this description ; and you will find in 


the 5th chapter of Jeremiah, and in that which 
follows, the most singularly precise and pungent 
invectives for the coveteousness, cruelty, oppression, 
falsehood, and disregard of God, prevailing to such a 
degree that they added to their iniquities a pluipp 
denial of them, and would not listen to the word of 
God against them; so that God charges Jeremiah, 
Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, 
and see now and know, and seek in the broad places 
thereof if ye can find a man, if there be any that 
executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth, and I will 
pardon it. 

And the prophet Ezekiel, writing and speaking of 
precisely the same period and people, declares, "The 
people of the land have used oppression and exercised 
robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy ; yea, 
they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I 
sought for a man among them that should make up 
the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the 
land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none." 
The offer that God made by Jeremiah was unavailing. 
The prophet could not find a man in Jerusalem to 
stand in the gap before God, that he might pardon 
the city and the people ; and God bears witness to 
this fact by Ezekiel, even at the very time of the 
punishment of the people for their sins, especially the 
sin of oppression. 

The iniquities practiced by the people were sanc- 
tioned by statute, defended by false prophets, and 


enforced by the priests and princes through their 
influence, when, if they had stood up publicly and 
firmly against such sins, we have God's plain declara- 
tion both by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, that they would 
have turned the people from their sins, and procured 
for them life and pardon. "A wonderful and hor- 
rible thing is committed in the land. The prophets 
prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their 
means ; and my people love to have it so ; and what 
will ye do in the end thereof?" 

What will ye do indeed ? They soon found out 
that the end thereof was death. "I have not sent 
these prophets," said the Lord God, " yet they ran ; 
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But 
if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my 
people to hear my words, then they should have 
turned them from their evil way, and from the 
evil of their doings." How amazingly solemn and 
impressive is this testimony as to the responsibility 
and power of the ministry in reference to the sins of 
the people and the nation ! They are able, at their 
pleasure, to mold the character of the people for 
good or evil, and to direct their course for heaven or 
hell. They may lead them either to obey or disobey 
God, both in their public policy and their domestic 
life : they may, if they choose, proclaim the law and 
policy of the government to be higher than the law of 
God, and sacred from rebuke for its wickedness, and 
they may make the true word of the Lord to be de- 


spised and forbidden of the people ; but on their heads 
is the consequence. They did thus deceive and cor- 
rupt the people of old, so that Jeremiah could not 
persuade them to listen to the voice of God. 

" Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they can 
not hearken ; behold, the word of the Lord is unto 
them a reproach ; they have no delight in it. For 
from the least of them even unto the greatest of them 
every one is given to coveteousness ; and from the 
prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth 
falsely, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. 
And when God said, Walk in the old paths and in 
the good way, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, 
they said, We will not walk therein. And when 
God set watchmen, saying, Hearken to the sound of 
the trumpet, they said We will not hearken. 1 ' Such 
was their obstinate refusal to hear God's word in 
regard to their own iniquities. 

And then comes the great appeal of God to the 
whole world to take note, and bear witness for him, 
against this people of his wrath, and to mark the 
wickedness that is going on among them, and espe- 
cially this exasperating and aggravating impiety of 
refusing to have the light of God's word turned upon 
their national, governmental, and social policy. 
"Hear ye, nations, and know, congregation, 
what is among them. Hear, earth ! Behold, I 
will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their 
thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my 


words, nor to my law, but rejected it." God then 
proceeds just as in Isaiah, to denounce with utter 
scorn their formal pretenses of his worship, along 
with all their wickedness. He had said by Isaiah, I 
hate, I despise your solemn feast-days, and your rites 
of pretended religious service are an abomination to 
me. And he asks of Jeremiah, "To what purpose 
cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the 
sweet cane from a far country ? Your burnt-offer- 
ings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto 
me ; therefore, fathers and sons, the neighbor and his 
friend shall perish together." 

And the conclusion of this tremendous sermon is 
impressive beyond measure for its inculcation of the 
necessity of discerning between the righteous and the 
wicked, and separating the latter with their abomina- 
ble maxims, from the former, in the policy and gov- 
ernment of a people, in order that the agencies 
appointed of God for the good of the people may 
work, and may be able to accomplish his purposes. 
God describes the character of the people, in their 
acceptance of, and submission to, the oligarchy of evil 
counselors and wicked governors and laws, by whom 
they consented to be led to destruction, following 
them as sheep for the slaughter. " They are all 
grievous revolters, walking with slanders; they 
are brass and iron; they are all corrupters. 
The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed 


of the fire ; the founder melteth in vain ; for 
the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate 
silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath 
rejected them." 

God distinctly informs us, that if his ministers had 
spoken as they ought in regard to all this wickedness, 
it might have been prevented, and the ruin which it 
brought would have been averted. The nation's 
destruction was in consequence of their concealment 
and perversion of God's word ; and hence the solem- 
nity and appropriateness of these historic records, as 
applied for our own guidance at the present time. 



There are some practical instructions from this 
history, of great importance. As we go forward 
in it, we cannot help being astonished at the very 
little use made of it, and the very little light poured 
from it, when it is certainly one of God's great suns 
of radiance for Christian nations, one of the orbs in 
the planetary system of His word ; and distinctly in 
the New Testament, as well as the old, He declares 
that much of this light was given as a warning, a 
forewarning, and that it should be poured upon our 
own consciences, our own habits of thinking, and our 
own courses of action. It is light that cost more 
than any thing in the world ever did cost, till the 
light from the cross and sufferings of Christ, the 
light bought by his death, came down upon the world. 
The light from the carcasses of dead empires, the 
light from Israel and Judah in their crimes and final 
sufferings, and dreadful death, the light from their 
captivities before the crucifixion, and the destruction 
and desolation like a whirlwind after the filling up 


of that measure of their iniquities, and the light from 
half-buried Jewish communities, and from Jewish 
infidel minds still going about and wailing in their 
grave-clothes, peeled, scattered, and exterminated 
thus, is a beacon-light to states and statesmen, and to 
every one of us in a world of probation ; the world 
where character, both national and individual, must 
be formed in accordance with God's word, or it 
has in it the elements, the self-igniting fires, of in- 
evitable ruin. The history shows the wickedness of 
obeying men rather than God, and the dangerous 
nature of a system of human expediency and conceal- 
ment of the truth, in preference to a reliance on 
God, and his truth and righteousness. 

But here you may possibly say that the great sin 
for which the nations and generations now under our 
examination were destroyed, was the sin of idolatry, 
and we are not guilty of that, and in no danger from 
it. Examine the record, and you will find, besides 
the idolatry, the great sin of oppression, occupying 
as large a space in the indictment ; and we shall dis- 
cover, as far onward as the 34th chapter of Jeremiah, 
the deliberate establishment of slavery in the nation 
to have been the one climacteric cause and occasion of 
the wrath of God coming down upon the whole land 
and people without remedy. 

And we ourselves may be guilty of things as bad 
as the idolatry of the old Israelites, and may be quite 
as unwilling as they to have the light of God's truth 


turned upon them. God speaks of covetousness, 
which is idolatry. God looketh on the heart, and if . 
God sees a single merchant in our cities, with whom 
the reason, for example, why he is unwilling that any 
mention of the sin of slavery should resound from 
the pulpit, or that any agitation in regard to its 
wickedness should be kept up, is a regard to his 
business and its profits, or a fear of revulsion and 
disturbance distressing to the prosperous course and 
current of commercial affairs, that concealment and 
opposition of the light, and the motive for it, are as 
bad, in his case, with his increased knowledge, in the 
blaze of the whole word of God, as the idolatry of 
the Israelites. It is the golden calves still, and still 
there is the worship of them, and Dan and Bethel are 
in this city with their Dagons and their altars, and 
their priests, not among the lowest merely, but the 
highest of the people. 

And the forced concealment of truth on this very 
subject, the voice to the seers, See not, and to the 
prophets, Prophesy not, the ban upon the light, the 
ostracism of opinion, the repression of freedom in the 
pulpit, the accusation and the outcry of political 
preaching, if the light of God be turned upon it, the 
extreme fastidiousness and fear in our fashionable 
congregations, sit like a night-mare on the genius of 
the gospel. It is a mountain of despotism, and of the 
fear of man thrown upon the truth. The preacher is 
like the fabled giant under the volcano. If the giant 


will be quiet, the mountain will be quiet, and some 
►green things may grow upon it in peace and freshness. 
But the moment he turns in his anguish, or strives to 
free himself of his load, the mountain belches forth its 
fire and fury, and rolls down streams of lava, and the 
poor be-mountained giant is the cause of it ! The 
giant cannot stir, hand or foot, with the least suspicion 
of regaining his freedom, but Etna rages. Tell me 
not that this is an exaggerated description. Almost 
every time the light of God's word has been turned 
directly upon this subject, it has been followed with 
tumult. Asrain and again have faithful and beloved 
pastors been driven from their pulpits, just barely for 
giving a single utterance of God's word against the 
sin of slavery. At the South a man has been driven 
from his church, simply for refusing to add his name 
to a commendation of the dastardly and murderous 
outrage in the Senate of the United States. In 
Washington, a pastor has been recently dismissed for 
one single sermon against slavery. In Philadelphia 
the people have demanded and accomplished the 
resignation of a pastor for the same offense. Every- 
where, almost, there is this attempt to muzzle the 
pulpit, this impious refusal to listen to God's w T ord on 
this one sin. 

Now I should insult the moral sense of the congre- 
gation, if I should ask them (as though there were a 
doubt in their minds as to such iniquity) whether this 
is right in the sigb t of God ; and God perhaps has 


suffered us to come to our present crisis in the affairs 
of this nation, on purpose, in part, to deliver the 
pulpit from such bondage. There is a point where 
the life is reached, and men feel it, and now they 
begin to speak out, whether men will hear or forbear. 
And if we would be faithful, we must speak out; 
for we know that this is God's truth and that what- 
ever plausible motives of expediency may induce 
either us to refrain from uttering it, or you to shrink 
from hearing it, it can not be right in God's sight to 
hearken unto men more than unto God. 

The conservatism that would prevent the utterance 
of God on this subject is a conservatism that stands 
in the way of righteousness, and yet it makes great 
pretensions to sobriety and uprightness. It reminds 
one of Jeremiah's satirical description. They are 
upright as the palm-tree, but speak not. It preserves 
a sober and dignified silence, when God commands 
a fearless outspoken rebuke of cherished sins. It 
imputes the violence of men's passions in defense of 
such sins to the rashness and impertinence of those 
who have dared to rebuke them. It is always saying 
to those who open the batteries of truth, when noise 
and fury follow the cannonading, Had you kept 
silence, there would have been nothing of all this 
agitation ; you are stirring up nothing but contention 
and wrath. This was the very accusation brought 
against Jeremiah himself, when he proclaimed the 
Word of God in Jerusalem and Judea against sins, 


which the government commanded, and which the 
people declared they would defend and practice, and 
which not a few among prophets and priests them- 
selves affirmed were no sins at all, but just a profitable 
policy. " Woe is me," exclaimed Jeremiah, "for I 
am become a man of contention and strife. I love 
peace, and I love my people, and I love my country, 
and out of love I speak to them this word of the 
Lord. I have neither lent on usury, nor men have 
lent to me on usury, yet every one of them doth 
curse me." Ah, Jeremiah, there are other ways to 
touch men's pockets, and irritate their avarice, 
besides charging twenty per cent, for your money. 
Lay the tax of the word of God upon their profitable, 
legalized, and cherished sins, and instantly they 
cry out violence and spoil, and the word of God itself 
will be made a reproach unto you and a derision, 
daily. "Then said they, Come, and let us devise 
devices against Jeremiah ; for the law shall not perish 
from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the 
word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him 
with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of 
his words. So I heard the defaming of many, fear 
on every side. Report say they, and we will report 
it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying 
peradventure he will be enticed, we shall prevail 
against him, and we shall take our revenge on him." 
And all for what? Had he injured them, betrayed 
them, slandered them, defrauded them ? Simply and 


solely because he had delivered unto them the * ords 
of the Lord against their sins of oppression and 
idolatry. Well ! if all the Lord's prophets had been 
faithful and true like Jeremiah, they would have 
conquered, and God's word in them. But Jeremiah 
stood almost alone, and the prophets themselves were 
against him, the conservatists of peace and sin. 
When he said that the city and the people were 
wholly given to oppression, and that God would deso- 
late the land, and deliver up the city to its enemies, 
because of this wickedness, they said no, he will not 
deliver it, but Jeremiah is teaching rebellion against 
the king, the government, and the nation. So be- 
tween the word of the Lord on the one side, and the 
word of these false prophets on the other, between 
the word of the Lord burning as a fire in his own 
soul and in his very bones, and making him weary 
with forbearing, and compelling him to cry out, like 
a lion in hi3 anguish, and the lies, threatenings, and 
outcries of rebellion and treason, by prophets, priests, 
and people, the faithful preacher of God was almost 
distracted. " Mine heart within me is broken because 
of^the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a 
drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath over- 
come, because of the word of the Lord, and because 
of the words of his holiness. For both prophet and 
priest are profane, and their ways shall be unto them 
as slippery ways in the darkness. I have seen also 
in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing. 


They walk in lies, they strengthen also the hands of 
evil-doers, that none doth return from his wickedness ; 
they are all unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants 
as Gomorrah." Nothing could be more expressive 
of the burning anger of the Lord against those who 
stood against his word. They were looked up to for 
examples and guides as the conservatists among the 
people; but they conserved the people in their sins, 
crying out all the while against this agitation and 
strife that Jeremiah was producing with the word of 
the Lord. There could hardly be a more offensive 
and deliberate wickedness against God, than the 
example of such resistance against his word, and such 
denial of its application. Therefore saith the Lord 
of hosts concerning the prophets, Behold, I will 
feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the 
water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem is 
profaneness gone forth into all the land. Therefore 
thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the 
words of the prophets that prophesy unto you ; they 
make you vain ; they speak a vision of their own 
heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They 
say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath 
said ye shall have peace, and they say unto every one 
that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, 
No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in 
the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and 
heard his word? who hath marked his word, and 
heard it ? 


These sneering questions of blasphemy and unbe- 
lief, this daring denial of God's word in the face of 
his divinely-commissioned prophets, addressed by the 
false prophets, and believed by the people, filled up 
the cup of their sins, and insured the divine ven- 
geance. And instantly its assertion follows: " Be- 
hold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, 
even a grievous whirlwind; it shall fall grievously 
upon the heads of the wicked. The anger of the Lord 
shall not return, until he have executed and till he 
have performed the thoughts of his heart; in the 
latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not 
sent these prophets, yet they ran ; I have not spoken 
to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood 
in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear 
my tvords, then they should have turned them from 
their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. I 
have heard what the prophets have said that prophesy 
lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have 
dreamed. How long shall this be in the hearts of the 
prophets that prophesy lies ? Yea, they are prophets 
of the deceit of their own hearts which think to cause 
my people to forget my name, by their dreams which 
they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers 
have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that 
hath a dream, let him tell a dream, and he that hath 
my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What 
is the chaff to the wheat ? saith the Lord. Is not my 
word like as a fire, saith the Lord, and like a hammer 


that breaketh the rock in pieces ? Therefore, behold 
I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal 
my words every man from his neighbor. Prophet, 
priest, and people that do this, I will even punish 
that man and his house ; for ye have perverted the 
words of the living God, of the Lord of Hosts, our 
God. Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly for- 
get you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I 
gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my 
presence. And I will bring an everlasting reproach 
upon you, and a perpetual shame which shall not be 
forgotten. n 

That everlasting reproach, that perpetual shame, 
that living destruction ! We see it with our eyes, for 
where is the nation on whose soil some of these 
cinders out of the furnace of God's wrath have not 
fallen ? And still the Jews, like half-burned shingles 
from the great conflagration, darken the air of pro- 
phesy. And how is it possible that men anywhere 
can read these burning denunciations of the wicked- 
ness by which they fell, and repeat the same wick- 
edness, the same oppression, and the same daring 
defiance, and resistance, and perversion of God's word 
in regard to it ? 

God sent Jeremiah with such messages, even to 
Tophet, sent him on purpose, and gathered a congre- 
gation to hear him, even on the borders of that 
smoldering, smoking image of the world of woe ; 
sent him to preach there in order to give a more 


terrible force and stinging application to his words, 
sent him to that valley of the son of Hinnom, that 
rotting gelienna of dead men's bones and all unclean- 
ness, and made him stand with an earthen vessel in 
his hands, w r hich, amid the tide of burning eloquence 
poured from God's Spirit through his lips, against the 
sins of the nation, he was commanded to break in 
pieces, and cast it into the valley as an emblem of the 
manner in which God w T ould break up the whole 
nation, and cast the people into Tophet, till there 
should be none to bury them, nor room for them to 
be buried. And after he had finished that sermon, 
he came into the city again, and repeated its applica- 
tion to all the people in the court of the Lord's house, 
and instantly upon that, the sermon being reported 
to the authorities, they lashed the prophet with 
stripes, and put him in the stocks, as their descend- 
ants afterward did with Paul and Silas, the New 
Testament preachers of the same Gospel. Never did 
the malignity of man, and the instant retributive 
power and majesty of the word of God come into more 
graphic and instructive conflict. Will you listen to 
the recital, for it is brief and pungent : " Then came 
Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the Lord had sent 
him to prophesy ; and he stood in the court of the 
Lord's house, and said to all the people, Thus saith 
the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel : Behold, I will 
bring upon the city, and upon all her towers, all the 
evil that I have pronounced against it, because they 


have hardened their necks that they might not hear 
my words. Now Pashur, the son of Immer the 
priest, who was also chief governor in the house of 
the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these 
things. Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, 
and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate 
of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord. 
And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur 
brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then 
said Jeremiah unto him, The Lord hath not called 
thy name Pashur, but Magor-Missabib. For thus 
saith the Lord, Behold, I will make thee a terror to 
thyself, and to all thy friends ; and they shall fall by 
the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall be- 
hold it ; and I will give all Judah into the hand of 
the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive 
into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword. 
And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house, 
shall go into captivity : and thou shalt come to Baby- 
lon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried 
there, thou and all thy friends, to whom thou hast 
prophesied lies." 

It was thus that God preserved Jeremiah, and, ac- 
cording to his promise, made the terror of his words 
to sink in the hearts of his opponents, made his words 
fire and the people wood, to be kindled by them. 
And all around in the region of his native place, 
where w r icked and scornful men beset and plagued 
him, Jeremiah was charged with similar messages. 


Now if ever there was what is now falsely called 
political preaching, it was this preaching of Jeremiah. 
It was the preaching of religion in politics, God's 
word as the only authoritative and right guide of 
politics, God's word forbidding a nation's sins. And 
God sustained the prophet in this preaching through 
a ministry of forty-three years' duration. Now mark 
my words, It was the preaching of religion in politics, 
which is God's own command, both in the Old and 
New Testament, but the preaching of politics in 
religion is quite another thing, the work of intrigu- 
ing politicians and of Satan, seeking to blind the 
minds of men, and keep God's light and God's author- 
ity away from their hearts and consciences. If re- 
ligion be not preached and practiced in the politics of 
a nation, that nation is on the high road to perdition ; 
for the nation and kingdom that will not serve God 
shall perish ; and if politics be preached and prac- 
ticed in the religion of a. nation, which is the case 
when religion is not applied to politics, then both 
church and people perish in their sins. 





The Jesuitical habit of apologizing for sin, and of 
covering it up, runs into every thing; he that is 
unfaithful in much will also be unfaithful in a little, 
and he that is unfaithful in a little is unfaithful in 
much. He whose corporate conscience is debauched 
in a society, will lose all tenderness and acuteness of 
conscience in private life, and in his own piety. He 
will lie, steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, 
and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other 
gods, and then come and stand in God's house, which 
is called by his name, and say, We &re delivered to do 
all these abominations. Politics in religion will not 
only lead to the practice of such abominations, but 
will justify and sanctify them ; but religion in pol 
itics pours the light of God's word upon men's cor- 
porate as well as individual crimes. It is impossible 
for the individuals of a nation to support the nation's 
sins, or apologize for them, or ward off the light of 


God's word from rebuking them, and not put in peril 
their own piety and salvation. 

Already, over more than half the pulpits in our 
land there hangs the ban of excommunication, if a 
single page of God's word be applied against slavery; 
the thing must not be mentioned, and a politic silence 
prevails. The drums of God's word are muffled, and 
they beat a funeral march instead of a Gospel onset. 
Our conservative Christians have turned sextons — 
they are for burying the truth instead of publishing 
it. Their whole terror is against the living truth ; 
dead men's bones and all uncleanness have less that is 
repulsive for them, than rousing, cutting, and exciting 
truth, the truth of God, that brings religion into 
their cotton speculations and their politics. "My 
people ask counsel at their stocks, and their stuff 
declareth unto them. Ephraim is a merchant; the 
balances of deceit are in his hands ; he loveth to 
oppress, yet he saith, I am become rich, I have found 
me out substance ; in all my labors they shall find 
none iniquity in me that were sin." There may be 
iniquity in the abstract, but nothing is sin per se, if 
there be great profit in it ; and when the pecuniary 
interest of any wicked system becomes vast, there are 
prophets enough to justify Ephraim in its preserva- 

Now, then, let such dead as these bury their dead, 
but the Gospel is not to walk as a mourner, at the 
grave-digger's bidding. Preach thou the kingdom of 


God. Undertakers for the dead; preachers for the 
living. Let not the first presume to give instructions 
to the last. It is a different process, that of nailing 
up truth in coffins, and putting it five feet under 
ground, lest it be a stench in the nostrils of cotton 
merchants, and that of revealing its grand and noble 
forms, as glorious living messengers from the Lord 
Almighty. We walk with angels, not with dead 
men; we take counsel of living, beating hearts, not 
dead bones and purses. To those who conceal or sell 
the truth for a present expediency, and handle God's 
word by profit and loss, God gives in receipt a whirl- 
wind ; ye shall be ashamed of your revenues, says he, 
because of the fierce anger of the Lord. And when 
they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have 
familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that 
mutter, Should not a people seek unto their God? 
Will they dare to seek for the living to the dead ? 
To the law and to the testimony ! If your leaders 
speak not according to this word, it is because there 
is no light in them. And if you follow such teachers, 
hear ye what is in reserve for you, even in your very 
passage through the word of God, and what it meanu 
when the Lord says, that if the blind lead the blind, 
both shall fall into the ditch. For, says the living 
God, If they speak not according to my word, they 
shall pass through it hardly bestead and hungry ; 
even through this land of glory, this place of living 
streams, green pastures, and cold flowing waters, and 


trees of life, whose fruit is for the healing of the 
nations ; even through this region of heaven shall they 
pass more famished with thirst and hunger than if 
lost in the heart of the great desert under the simoom 
cloud. They shall pass through it hardly bestead 
and hungry, and it shall come to pass that when they 
shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse 
their king and their God, and look upward. And 
they shall look unto the earth, and behold trouble 
and darkness, dimness of anguish, and they shall be 
driven into darkness. That is the fate of any polit- 
ical party that will not obey God's word, but chain 
themselves to platforms that abjure it, and trust 
in lies. 

Nothing can possibly be more hypocritical, than 
the outcry about political preaching. The truth is, 
that the moment any sin passes from the individual 
to the nation, and is sanctioned by law, and becomes 
w T hat is called organic, then instantly the speech 
against it is branded as political preaching ; so that, 
if you wish to take all manner of sin from the touch 
and control of the pulpit, if you wish to shield it 
from that rebuke which God has appointed to be 
thundered against it, you have only to make it legal 
and national, and you have given it a tabernacle, a 
pavilion, you have enshrined it as a Dagon, before 
which you must put off the shoes from your feet, and 
approach it only to bow down and worship. If a 
man has two wives, you may preach against polyga- 


my, and nobody thinks of charging you with preach- 
ing politics ; but if a State set up polygamy by law, 
and its support be made a plank in the political plat- 
form of a party, then, if you touch upon it in the 
pulpit, you are preaching politics. Whenever, and 
in whatever way, you bring religion to bear upon 
politics, there are men who will accuse you of political 
preaching ; but you are not to stop for that. 

And it is most instructive to see the blundering 
power of political prejudices, and the distortions of 
men's vision. The Rev. Dr. Richards, settled in 
Morristown during the administration of President 
Jefferson, preached on one occasion a sermon on the 
prevalence of infidelity, applying the principles of the 
gospel to the duties of the nation ; and the sermon 
happening to fall in with the opinions of the hearers, 
it was greatly admired. No one thought of calling 
it a political sermon. Several years passed away, 
bringing, in many respects, a great change in the 
political views of the congregation. But divine truth 
is always the same. Dr. Richards, thinking he per- 
ceived a train or habit of opinion and feeling in the 
congregation or community, which called for it, took 
up the same sermon, and preached it again as before. 
Not an individual remembered it, but a great portion 
of the congregation were very much offended by it, 
as being what they called political preaching. They 
went to the length of appointing a committee to wait 
upon the preacher and remonstrate with him against 


such kind of preaching. One of the gentlemen on 
the committee, and their chairman, was Dr. Whelpley, 
then an elder in Dr. Richards's church. The com- 
mittee presented their grievances and remonstrance, 
and Dr. Richards listened with great gravity and 
serenity. When they got through, he remarked that 
time brings about great changes. Men change, 
opinions change ; nature herself works wondrous 
transformations; but his old sermons remained, for 
aught he could discover, just as they were. This 
discourse, said he, taking up the obnoxious sermon, 
is indeed discolored, and somewhat yellow with age ; 
but its contents remain precisely the same as they 
were so many years ago, when you first heard its 
expositions of divine truth, and regarded them with 
admiration as the pure gospel of God, nor ever 
dreamed of there being any thing political in them. 

The committee of remonstrance listened with 
astonishment; they took the manuscript into their 
hands, and sat gazing at one another, and at Dr. 
Richards, in silence. At length Dr. Whelpley, the 
chairman, turned to them and said, Gentlemen, I 
think we had better go ! And after that, there was 
no more criticism in the congregation concerning the 
preaching of politics. 

But at the present time, the simplest announcement 
of divine truth, in regard to national guilt, is asserted 
to be an invasion, forsooth, of the political rights of 
the congregation, and an unwarranted intrusion of 


themes adapted to excite angry feeling, where there 
ought to be nothing mentioned but Christ and him 

But what is it to truly preach Christ and him cruci- 
fied, except to pour the light of a Saviour's sufferings 
and death upon men's sins, that in that light they may 
see and feel "the exceeding sinfulness of sin," their 
own sins, and the sins of the community, and be led, out 
of love to Christ, and for his sake, to renounce them ? 
Many persons may be willing to preach nothing but 
Christ and him crucified, who are not willing, like 
Paul, to ~know nothing among men save Christ and 
him crucified ; a very different thing it is, merely to 
preach that doctrine speculatively, from applying it 
practically. Many are very willing to hear about 
Christ being crucified for them, who will not listen 
for a moment to the proposed crucifixion of their sins 
for him, especially those sins which they call organic, 
those that have the sanction and protection of human 
law, those that are regarded and maintained as domes- 
tic institutions, and those that are defended by a strong 
party, so that it becomes an unpopular and a hazard- 
ous thing to assail them. But for what purpose was 
the gospel given, but to turn men from their iniquities, 
disclosing and condemning them in the light of the 
cross ? 

And what is the gospel, with its infinite majesty 
of thought, and its burning motives, and its countless 
applications, and its sublime combinations of thunder- 


ings and halleluias, and its compass of all sounds 
reverberating from heaven to hell? Is it a fiddle 
with only one string, or a harp of infinite harmon- 
ies ? Is it an organ with only one note — -a monoton- 
ous anodyne of repeated truisms, so admitted, that 
they are cradled in the dormitory of the soul, as 
lifeless as exploded errors? Is it a treadmill of 
orthodoxy and conservatism, where men, that would 
be Samsons anywhere else, must grind blind-folded, 
crushed beneath the fear of man, terrified at the 
thought of a blast from the political newspapers, 
afraid of every thing exciting, their only object to keep 
things quiet, and the watchword of their millennium, 
First peaceable, then pure? Such an idea of the 
gospel is preposterous ; it reminds us of our school- 
day declamations: 

"My name is Norval! on the Grampian hills 
My father feeds his flock ; a frugal swain, 
Whose only aim was to increase -his' store, 
And keep his only son, myself, at home !" 

I tell you, no wonder that the modern pulpit has 
lost its power, when men are afraid of the application 
of that power, and tremble at the consequences. The 
gospel is not to be perverted as a political lullaby, 
and shall not be muzzled at the mandate of intrifmino; 
politicians and oppressors. There is nothing, from 
the beginning to the end of the alphabet, connected 
with moral issues, and bearing on men's duty, which 
may not, at the proper time, be made the subject of 

56 GOD ADAI N ST S L A V 1 ft Y . 

investigation in the pulpit, and the proper time for 
the consideration of any sin, is the very time, and the 
proper place the very place, where the sin is practiced, 
where its lawfulness, expediency, and righteousness 
arc maintained, and where its disastrous, demoralizing, 
destructive influence, is felt, and not at the Antipodes, 
where sins are reigning of an entirely opposite char- 
acter. The proper time and place for the considera- 
tion of idolatry is in the presence of the idol-worship, 
and in the community where such an abomination pre- 
vails, or where it is defended; and no matter what 
laws, or antique usages and authorities of state and 
custom sustain the iniquity, that makes no difference 
in the duty of the preacher. The application of the 
gospel must be made ; nor is there any time to be 
lost; since the argument of possession, custom, and 
law, is every day growing stronger. 

Just so with every dear, cherished, fashionable 
evil. If the probing of it occasions agitation, anger, 
strife, that very thing is proof of the necessity of so 
dealing with it ; and if it is warmly contested not to 
be an evil nor a sin, that itself just clearly shows the 
danger and ruin of letting it alone, and the press- 
ing necessity of pouring the light of God's word upon 
it. If it be interwoven with the politics of the state 
and of society, so much the worse ; so much the more 
hazardous to meddle with it, but so much the more 
necessary. Idolatry was thoroughly interwoven with 
the fixtures and statutes of the Roman empire, but 


the gospel was laid at its roots; and though the 
apostles might have preached Christ and him cruci- 
fied, technically, orthodoxically, without saying one 
word against the worship of idols, yet they attacked 
it, and poured the light of the cross upon it, in the 
very heart of Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome, 
before the temples and the altars of Astarte, of 
Jupiter, of Diana, and the thirty thousand gods 
admitted by the indifference of Areopagus. Think 
of any man undertaking to tell Paul that he must not 
bring his religion into politics ! It was only vaga- 
bond Jews, and that only of the lower sort, and 
Demetrius the silver-smith, the maker of silver 
shrines for Diana, that cried out politics, and the 
turning of the world upside down with agitation, and 
sounded the alarm that the apostles were persuading 
men to worship God contrary to the law. That was 
the accusation ; and where the law was all on the 
side of sin, death, and Satan, how could there but be 
incessant conflict and strife, till God's law got the 
uppermost ? 

I sometimes think I see, with the clearness of a 
death-bed vision, that the spirit of gain, and of a 
commercial expediency, and of an indolent love of 
ease and prosperity, even in spiritual things, has 
taken fast hold of the people. And I do know that 
there may be a self-deception, even in the hearts of 
men who think they are going on wisely and smoothly 

in the way to heaven, and a secret leaven of supreme 



regard to self, that corrupts the whole fountain, so 
that, by-and-by, with the horror of an eternal sur- 
prise, they may find God saying to them, I never 
knew you, ye never knew me ! 

There are those who have asked themselves, again 
and again, May we not keep silence ? Is it not best ? 
Why is it necessary to speak on this subject, though 
it be in God's word ; or, if necessary, why necessary 
for us, and why now ? But we are answered by 
conscience, by God's word, by the examples of the 
prophets and apostles : and so answered, how can we 
forbear speaking out ? By the help of God, I, for 
one, mean to speak freely, fully, on this subject, at 
this most solemn juncture in our history. It is not 
from curiosity, merely, but by constraint, that we 
have to seek the light of God upon our present path 
of duty, personal and individual, in regard to this 
thing. It is no mere abstraction, and never was, but 
it has come to every man's door, every man's own 
soul, asking what shall be done ? what course are 
we to pursue, what opinion shall we maintain, and 
what would God have us to do, in such a crisis? 
Here, then, we must consent to come humbly to the 
word of God, and learn what is His judgment in 
regard to the right way ; for now, at this very time, 
we are making, as a nation, our final decision upon it, 
and every man takes part in that decision. 

I proclaim the right and the obligation of a min- 
ister of God's word to preach on the sinfulness of 


extending the system of slavery, and to show the con- 
sequent religious responsibility of a vote in regard to 
it. If any persons in the nation have a right to speak 
on this subject, those who have thoroughly invest- 
igated it in the Scriptures, in their original lan- 
guages, certainly possess that right. I have long 
studied the Old Testament in reference to it, out of 
anguish of spirit at the daring accusation brought 
against God's law among the Hebrews, of sustaining 
and sanctioning this stupendous wrong. And if, after 
some seventeen years' ministry in the city of New 
York, I could not dare to speak, or might not be per- 
mitted or sustained in proclaiming the whole utter- 
ance of God's word on this subject, where or when 
could I ? Could I do it at the South ? where, not 
only no man is allowed to speak, but if he be even 
suspected of thinking unfavorably to the system of 
slavery, he must be expelled from society, the safety 
of which is declared to be imperiled by his presence. 
Or, should a minister go to India or Siberia, and 
there proclaim the word of God against the sin of 
slavery, in a country five thousand miles distant ? 
That was Amaziah's advice to the prophet Amos, 
when, at God's bidding, he proclaimed the iniquities 
of Israel in Israel. thou seer, go, flee thee away 
into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and pro- 
phesy there, but prophesy not again any more at 
Bethel, for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's 


But why speak here, and why now ? Because the 
time has come, and the occasion, and the demand, 
and the personal moral necessity. It is worth a 
seventeen years' ministry to come to such a crisis, 
and be permitted of God to speak out. Never before 
has the extension of slavery been made a personal 
responsibility, at least not directly ; but now it is. 
It is put to you and to me, as individuals, to say, 
Shall slavery and oppression, or freedom and justice, 
be the rule of this nation ? This, then, is a crisis in 
which, with the word of God in trust to proclaim for 
God, we can not be silent; and as to our hearers, 
whatever part of God's word you reject, the same 
shall judge you in the last day. 

Now, it is no easy matter to proclaim the word of 
God on this subject ; it is not a pleasing or a popular 
theme. And as to position, as to prosperity, as to 
popularity, are not all inducements over on the side 
of ease, quiet, and silence ? Why endanger your 
position, influence, the welfare of your church, by an 
obstinate conscience, that makes you think, forsooth, 
that you must proclaim the messages in the word of 
God on this subject ? Truly, my friends, you must 
see that it is nothing of ease, or self-indulgence, or 
the seductions of popular applause, that can constrain 
a man, in such a case, to give utterance to his con- 
victions. I can but ask your prayers, as Paul did, 
that I may open my mouth boldly, that I may speak 
boldly, as I ought to speak. But speak I must. If 


I did not speak, I should perhaps receive the curse of 
a judicial darkness into my own soul. I should feel 
degraded, debased, enslaved. I could never lift my 
head as a man, a free man, an embassador for God, 
who seeks not to please men, but God. I have been 
made to feel that if a man can not stand against the 
whole world, if need be, with a Thus saith the Lord, 
he is unfit to speak for Jehovah ; it may be that he is 
unfit for heaven, destitute of the very first elements 
of faith in the Lord Jesus. And of the two lines of 
mistake in regard to eternity, that of self-indulgence 
in the way of timidity and love of ease, taking that 
for a conservative piety, and that of boldness, and a 
constitutional love of liberty and truth, taking that for 
conscientiousness ; — a man may be mistaken in regard 
to his motives in either way. But if one must go to 
perdition by one of these errors, he had better go by 
mistake of boldness in the truth, than shame and fear 
of it. And sure I am, that more will be lost in this 
age by not confessing God and his truth before men, 
than by imprudent or fiery zeal in the proclamation of 
any part of God's messages. 

that God may work in us all, by his own grace, 
a most entire and hearty love of his truth. Re- 
membering that man shall not live by bread alone, 
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth 
of God shall man live, may we be enabled to say 
with Jeremiah, Thy words were found, and I did eat 
them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing 
of my heart. 



It is the glory and the freedom of the Word of God, 
that it is for all ages, times, circumstances, men, and 
sins, without respect to persons. What would it be 
worth, if it were not ? It would grow old, it would 
pass out of date, it would vanish away, it would be 
like the first Egyptian covenant which decayeth and 
waxeth old, and is suspended. But now, forever, 
every word of God is settled in heaven, every orb 
hung up in that divine firmament, the same faithful 
light unto all generations. Its very historical records 
are like the milky way, a galaxy of stars, disclosing 
new worlds with the application of every new com- 
prehensive prayerful investigation by instruments of 
greater power. And its very nebulosities, that like 
the cloudy fleeces of the starry universe, have some- 
times furnished hopeful clinging-places for the bats of 
infidelity, are resolved into clusters of perfect worlds, 
arranged from the outset by him who made them at 


his own great will, for the manifestation of his own 
glory. The words of the Lord are pure words, as 
silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 
There is no dross in it ; there is nothing to be thrown 
away ; and the historical portions are especially prec- 
ious for this, among many essential uses, that they 
teach us, beyond all possibility of doubt, the freedom 
and fearlessness with which God will have every 
portion of his Word applied. They set in a divine 
illumination the precedents, in which the statutory 
parts of the divine law are illustrated, with such 
demonstration, as to give their meaning new clearness 
and power. And the same is the case with the illus- 
tration of the promises, so often made to shine in the 
chapters of personal experience, and in the beautiful 
and various recountings of God's providence. 

Now it can not be denied that in whatever age of 
the world any sinful practices or principles prevail, to 
the condemnation of which any part of the word of 
God is applicable, or for demonstration of the wicked- 
ness of which any part of the word of God can be 
used, that part of the word of God is meant for that 
age and that iniquity, was given in reference to it, was 
prearranged for such application, and is as directly 
revealed from God to that age, for the purpose of 
being proclaimed as his immediate message, as it was 
for the very first age, and the very first occasion. 
For this is the ever-living power and freshness of the 
word of God. When God revealed it first, he gave it 


for all times and places, through all generations up to 
the last day, and with a particular foresight of all 
phases of human society, all forms of human govern- 
ment, all customs and fashions among men, and all 
varieties of human "wickedness, whether of philosophy 
or impiety, intellect or heart, in the church or out of 
it, rulers or ruled. It is the incorruptible, eternal 
Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever, while 
generation after generation, all flesh is as grass, and 
all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The 
grass withereth, and the flower thereof fadeth away, 
but the Word of the Lord endureth forever. 

And God will have it applied ; he gave it, he pre- 
pared it, he made it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, 
for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that 
the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished 
unto all good works. God will have it applied by 
living preachers, according as men's conditions, dan- 
gers, miseries and sins, sins and miseries, require ; 
will have it divided rightly, that every man, and 
every generation, and every community, may receive 
their portion in due season. Like the sun in the 
heavens, there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. 
And there is nothing, in individual or national life, 
at the door of which, as at a forbidden or sacred cit- 
adel, any man, or government, or society, may stand 
and fend off, or expel, the word of God from entering 
and applying its judgment. It has the scrutiny and 
freedom of omniscience and omnipresence, breaking 


every seal and every spell of concealment, and flash- 
ing as God's eye into every secret recess and on every 
hidden thing. Whatever is morally wrong in all the 
ramifications, employments, and organizations of 
society, whatever in human business or luxury, what- 
ever in art, commerce, manufactures, labor, learning, 
science, jurisprudence, civil, social, or domestic econ- 
omy, on that the word of God falls, to search it out 
and rebuke it. Whatever there be in the laws or 
policy of nations, tainted with moral infection, under 
the condemnation of God's righteousness, or adapted, 
or designed, to lead men into, or protect them in 
pursuing courses jof sin, on that the word of God 
comes down, to that it is to be applied, and that is the 
province over which it has indisputable dominion, and 
on which it is to be marched without fear or apology, 
without hindering or halting. If unrighteousness in 
law is carrying men in iniquity headlong, God's word 
is to be planted in the face of such law, in defiance of 
it, as a park of artillery to thunder against it, and 
shield the people from its dreadful sway. Of all 
partisan claims or theological hallucinations, the idea 
that the science of government, the conduct of rulers, 
the political creeds and practices of men, the adminis- 
tration of parties and of nations, the whole domain, 
in fine, of what is called politics, is sacred from the 
application of God's word, and stands aloof on ground 
which the very nature of the preacher's vocation for- 
bids him to invade, is the maddest. A greater 


absurdity could scarcely be broached or a more im- 
pious one in its logic and its consequences, than that 
which, nevertheless, has been broached, and widely 
insisted on, that politics are out of the supervision of 
piety, and that religion is out of its sphere in apply- 
ing to the political doctrines and practices of a people 
the rules of God's righteousness, the light of God's 
word. The politics of a people comprise the whole 
scope of their laws and civil obligations, under which, 
if they be left to the dominion of the god of this 
world, given over to his undisputed sway, the whole 
nation will at length inevitably go down to perdition. 
The idea that men commissioned with the word of 
God are desecrating their office, or transcending its 
limits, when they undertake to bring the nation's 
laws and transgressions under the judgment of God's 
law ; or that they are in any manner or degree going 
out of their own proper sphere as the teachers of 
God's word, is a creation only of pride and impiety; 
and for the ministers of that word themselves to 
echo such an opinion, is itself a desecration of their 
office and a treason against God. 

And here let me say, in regard to the historical 
teachings, and all other teachings in the Old Testa- 
ment, that they are not only not superseded by the 
New, but confirmed and strengthened, and of just as 
great importance to be applied as ever. The New 
Testament is an addition to, and perfection of, the 
revelations of God's will in the Old, but it takes not 


away one jot or tittle of its authority, nor diminishes 
in the least degree its importance, nor supplies its 
place. The New Testament is part and parcel of the 
Old, but what the Old could not do, the New has 
done, and what the Old has still to do, the New does 
not do, and can not do, in its place. The Old came 
very much to governments and nations ; the New 
still leaves that field to be occupied by the Old, and 
itself comes more especially and directly to indi- 
viduals ; but the Old has still its mission, and must 
occupy its sphere, as fellow- preacher with the New, 
both being God's eternal witnesses, neither to cease 
on account of the other, but both to preach together 
and forever, to men and communities, to individuals 
and nations, to governments and peoples, to rulers 
and the ruled alike. 

And in this history, the career of nations, and of 
the Jew T s especially, is full of blazing light and prac- 
tical instruction, both in regard to our duty, and in 
illustration of the divine Providence and word. The 
Hebrew people, in their own country, and in their 
national life, were a perpetual beacon-light amid the 
darkness ; and in their living death among the nations 
they still serve a mighty purpose for the demonstra- 
tion of anatomy and disease, as God's subject of 
dissection, for the scrutiny of deadly moral poison, 
and the instruction and the warning of all empires. 
And in these historical pages the providential govern- 
ment of God is revealed and illustrated as we never 


could have known it, but for them. Hence, contin- 
ually the vivid references by the Lord Jesus Christ 
back to the records of what God has been doing, for 
instruction as to his will and providence and our 
duty. Have ye not read? Is it not plain before 
you? Remember Lot's wife. Remember the car- 
casses of those who fell in the wilderness. Remember 
Sodom and Gomorrah. As it was in the days of 
Noah so shall it again be. As it w T as with Jonah 
and Nineveh, and the warned and instructed, and yet 
ruined cities and kingdoms of old, so again in the 
ever-recurring tides and destinies of rising, flourish- 
ing, sinning, and falling nations. There they lie, the 
ruins of those cities, and in solemn silent eloquence 
proclaim God's wrath ; and Nineveh and Thebes, in 
their wonderful disentombment and material anastasis 
bear witness to the truth. The dispersion of the 
Jews among all nations, and at the same time God's 
most wonderful providential preservation of them 
from becoming lost and indistinguishable, or merged 
and denationalized, constitute a perpetual flaming 
miracle, in fulfillment of the prediction in Amos, " I 
will destroy the sinful kingdom from off the face of 
the earth, and I will sift the house of Israel among 
all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall 
not the least grain fall upon the earth." These 
demonstrations cover the course of all time, and they 
are for all ages, and they reach to all possible circum- 
stances and questions in their application, with their 


light. They show, as one vast example and prece- 
dent, for the instruction of all generations and nations, 
how God is a present God, with a particular provi- 
dence, interposing, acting, arranging all causes, and 
ordering affairs, and guiding and governing the whole 
world on the same principles developed in the history 
of that small portion of the world where the Saviour 
of the world was crucified. 

But this light has never been applied to the affairs 
of nations, the administration of governments, the 
political life of the people ; and almost half of God's 
word has remained a dead letter, and an unknown 
power. When John Robinson told the pilgrims that 
he was confident God had much more truth to unseal 
and let it break forth out of his living oracles, than 
they had any of them then gazed at, he might, or he 
might not, have had in his mind this application of 
divine truth to human politics ; but certain it is, that 
by such application and guidance alone can our coun- 
try be saved from going down into a deeper gulf of 
ruin than any nation was ever buried in. This coun- 
try is the battle-ground of religious principle against 
a wicked political expediency, and of God's authority 
in national affairs against the spirit of conquest, cov- 
etousness, oppression, and diplomatic fraud and self- 
ishness. Never, anywhere else, has principle had the 
field; it has been shut out and abandoned, as an 
interloper, an intruder, out of place in politics, and so 
the world has gone on without it. But here we have 


it. The battle is God's authority, and the religious 
principle, and the power of conscience, against polit- 
ical dishonesty and villainy. It is by the word of 
God that conscience and freedom fight on against 
immorality and slavery ; and the whole word must be 
free, and must be used, and no part of it vailed or 

Heretofore the conscience-battle has been merely 
as a skirmish in a narrow mountain gorge, where not 
a thousandth part of the troops could be engaged, or 
it has only been an ecclesiastical engagement, as of 
the Free Church of Scotland, moving from the gov- 
ernment and patronage of the State. Now, at length, 
we are down in the plain, room enough for all the 
forces and for every evolution, and the whole world 
are gazing at us, as if they occupied the mountain 
sides, and suspended all their interests for the issue 
of this conflict. It is principle, battling by the word 
of God, that here must contend against policy, against 
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spir- 
itual wickedness in high places; must enter into 
policy, conquer it, guide it, shape it, inspire it, 
transform it. It is principle in the hearts of the 
people that must reclaim and govern the government, 
that must wrest it mightily from the possession of 
men who are subverting its fundamental laws and 
elements, and put it in the hands, and keep it in the 
hands, of men who will not do what God abhors. 

There is but one way to accomplish this : God's 


truth, working by God's Spirit in the masses, in the 
common people, in the whole constituency. We must 
take possession of the constituency for God, and so 
we get possession of the government for God. The 
opinions of the constituency in regard to politics must 
be formed under the light of God's word, a thing 
which in most nations has never yet been done, but 
religion has been kept as far away from politics, and 
politics as thoroughly on the watch against religion, 
as if politics were a peaceful, unpolluted Eden, and 
religious truth the prowling fiend, seeking to distract, 
divide, and fill it with mischief and desolation. The 
government of religion by politics has been very com- 
mon ; this has been the rule where church and state 
have been united ; and between both the truth of 
God's word has been crushed and silenced, where it 
could not be perverted. But now comes a time when 
every thing must be brought into the light, and de- 
termined not by state or ecclesiastical power, as for- 
merly, but by conscience, which God's truth first 
sets at work, and then arms with a might that is 
irresistible. Now, over all this domain, God's word 
has a park of mighty batteries to move, hitherto 
masked and silent, but now to be unmasked and 
thundering. There is a hidden fire never yet re- 
vealed, but which is to break .forth in triumphant 
majesty and power. 



Thus saith the Lord, Ye have not hearkened unto 
me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, 
and every man to his neighbor ; behold, I proclaim a 
liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the 
pestilence, and to the famine ; and I will make you 
to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. 
Jer. xxxiv. 17. These words constitute one of the 
most tremendous thunderbolts of God's wrath against 
a nation's sins ever issued from the quiver of the 
Almighty. It came down with the suddenness of a 
peal of thunder in a clear day. The cause and occa- 
sion of it were the attempted establishment of slavery 
in the land, in place of free voluntary paid labor. 
Involuntary servitude was forbidden by the divine 
law, and the service appointed by the constitution of 
the Jewish state was a free service. There had been, 
from time to time, great and gross transgressions of. 
this benevolent constitution; and God had incessantly 


denounced his vengeance, by the prophets, against 
such oppression^ ; but never before had there been a 
deliberate determination and attempt, on the part of 
the nation, to violate the free constitution, defeat its 
provisions of protection and justice for the laboring 
classes, establish the sinful and forbidden claim of 
property in man, and bind their free servants as 
bond-slaves and chattels forever at the will of the 

This dreadful revolution and usurpation they now 
resolved upon — king, princes, priests, and the whole 
oligarchy of masters. They had hesitated, had re- 
laxed their grasp from the subjects of their oppression, 
when Jerusalem was threatened by the invading 
Chaldean army ; but the moment the troops drew off, 
and the immediate pressure of fear and danger was 
removed, they returned to their impious project ; the 
gain in their wealth, by making their servants prop- 
erty , instead of hired servants , was too vast, and the 
temptation of wielding an irresponsible despotism too 
dazzling for their cupidity and love of power to resist. 
They had been going on in an immoral, sensual, 
proud, vicious training for this final, daring, culmin- 
ating iniquity, for centuries; but they did not expect 
to be reined up and blasted by so sudden a destruc- 
tion. It came like a whirlwind ; it was all over with 
them there was no more reprieve, no more forbear- 
ance ; the choice of slavery instead of freedom, and 
oppression instead of justice and humanity, as the 


policy of the nation, filled up the measure of their 
iniquities, and exhausted the last drop in the allotted 
patience and long-suffering of God. 

Now, the transaction of this marked and mighty 
sin, and God's tremendous, almost instantaneous, 
wrathful judgment against it, were, for the sudden 
illumination of wickedness and justice in our fallen 
world, like a sun shot into chaos. If I had time to 
examine, and you the patience to contemplate, the 
previous steps of transgression, that led to this 
colossal guilt, and prepared the way for it, the 
gradual sapping and mining of the foundations of 
morality, the corruption of principles, manners, and 
morals, the successive wicked statutes, and the habit 
of infidelity and disobedience toward God fastened on 
the people, in willingly walking after them, the 
sacrifice and shipwreck of conscience, in obeying man 
rather than God, and the consequent loss of all dig- 
nity 2 power, and freedom, the recital would be full 
of instruction and of thrilling interest. We have 
already dwelt upon several important points ; and I 
can now only, as it were, take the quadrant, and, 
getting this orb of light in the firmament of God's 
word in the right line and reflection, bring it down 
exactly to our position, to calculate our course of 
duty and of safety. It is only by such celestial 
observations, as that great writer, Mr. Coleridge, 
once remarked, that terrestrial charts can be con- 
structed : such charts, at least, as can be relied upon 


to carry a nation safely through its perils. We our- 
selves are at sea, and surrounded by breakers, and 
God only can rescue us ; and He will do it, only by 
our reliance on Him, and obedience to Him. 

Let us, then, in the first place, secure an observa- 
tion as to God's method in a nation's probationary 
trial, and as to the solemnity of the crisis to which 
we have been brought, and the similarity between our 
position and that of the Jews, from the lifted lid of 
whose sepulchre there comes such an awful voice of 
wailing and of warning. We shall then be prepared 
to go into the argument as to the iniquity of slavery, 
and as to our own guilt and ruin, if we consent to its 

And here I beseech you to remark, that this 
mighty precedent of national injustice, and of God's 
vengeance against it, being once set, and blazing out 
with lurid fire, like a burning planet, in God's word, 
it settles into certainty the judgment of God with any 
other nation that shall dare to take to its embrace a 
similar injustice as to its policy. It settles another 
matter also, that God will never again have patience 
with any other nation as he had with the first ; but 
the wrath that with the first was restrained for ages, 
while the injustice was rolling on, will come down 
upon the last, because of the despised light of the first 
example, with overwhelming rapidity and power. If 
men neglect the examples anci the warning in God's 
word, so much the worse for them, and worse still if 


they scoff at its application. But there burns the 
light, the fire, the wickedness, the warning, the 
thunderbolt : you can almost hear it hissing and 
detonating anew, as you open those sacred pages. 
There stands the scorched, scarred, transfixed, and 
blasted form of a nation once chosen and beloved of 
God, but now a monument to the universe of his in- 
exorable justice. Dear to him once as the apple of 
his eye, engraved in covenant mercy on the palms of 
his hands, yet for the crime of trusting in oppres- 
sion and staying themselves thereon, plucked from 
his own finger as his signet ring, and whirled in 
scorn into the gulf of retribution ! 

We may be sure, if we do not mark this example, 
and take heed to the warning, there will be no such 
patience and forbearance of God toward us, as for a 
while reined in his wrath from riding as a whirlwind 
over his ancient people. 

Nations have their time and scene of probation as well 
as individuals. They form character, habits, and fixed 
principles of conduct, that, in the end, however things 
may seem to move for a season, come out according 
to eternal justice. If that be violated by a nation, 
to secure a present seeming temporal prosperity or 
power, there will be a divine vengeance and retribu- 
tion. The course of crime strikes back, and that 
which was pleasure, luxury, and power, in the for- 
ward career, is wretchedness, ruin, and death in the 
faction. The time must come ; it can not wait for 


eternity; and whatever distance there may be be- 
tween the actors of a present generation, whom the 
judgment for national crime overtakes, and those who 
began the crime, or set its causes in the national 
policy, the stroke of vengeance is not lightened, but 
falls with a renewed and accumulated, as well as 
original righteousness and force, the present actors 
having adopted for themselves the sins of their fathers, 
woven them in the life of the nation, and made that 
perpetual which might have been temporary. That 
upon you may come all the righteous blood, from 
that of Abel down to the last man murdered for his 
principles. It all comes, and comes righteously, for 
the last act challenges all the preceding, as adopted, 
legitimated ; and the fate that, like the whirling of a 
sling, has been swinging round and round for gene- 
rations, to gather force and swiftness, at length de- 
scends, as with the speed of lightning, in the con- 
centrated fury of a vengeance long scouted and defied. 
Ages of expostulation and rebuke, of compassionate 
delay and warning, throw themselves into the blow. 
The spirits of retribution awake and hurry onward 
from a thousand quarters, where the moans of the 
injured have been going up to God. 

"When the time comes, when the books are open 
for settlement, as in the time of vengeance on the 
French monarchy for ages of oppression, every out- 
raged principle, and every agonized class, presents its 
account. The universe seems but one uproar of 


wrath ; seems to have taken fire for God and justice, 
and to rush upon the long-escaping and long-defying 
criminal with a rejoicing energy and strength. The 
race of men in Sodom, overwhelmed with the storm of 
fire from heaven, were perhaps no worse than the 
generation that preceded them; but the vengeance 
long delayed all came down upon them. The ven- 
geance due for past crimes, which might have been 
prevented by repentance and humility, is condensed, 
pointed, and brought down, by impenitence and hard- 
ness of heart, as when a lightning rod is lifted to the 
clouds. There is always a last drop of insolence and 
cruelty that fills up the measure of a nation's in- 
iquities, and then the edict goes forth, Actum est de 
te: periisti. There was, in the case of Belshazzar 
and Babylon ; there was, in the case of Israel ; there 
was, in the case of Judah ; there was, in the career of 
Jerusalem, when incarnate Deity, in person, warned 
and expostulated. 

There are awful unseen junctures, unseen, because 
men choose to be blinded, and there are days of un- 
known visitation, unknown, because men scoff at the 
thought of being thus under the judgment of a pres- 
ent God. There are seasons of deliberate choice for- 
ever, where two ways meet, and nations, as individu- 
als, come to the point, decide, and from that step, go 
steadily downward or upward, according to that de- 
cision. We ourselves, as a nation, have come to such 
a point. We are to choose for an empire between 


wrong and righteousness, between injustice and justice, 
between oppression and benevolence, between slavery 
and freedom. It is a point, in which all the charac- 
ters and wills in this country come to a convergen- 
cy, one side or other, good or bad. It is a point 
where the choice will be determined by individual 
adopted opinions and preferences, under motives and 
principles which in every case God unerringly traces 
and judges, as he alone can do. 

It is a spectacle, and a national issue, such as there 
never was before in all the world ; a decision affecting 
at present and in prospect, more millions of men, 
and greater varieties of interest in this world, and 
more solemn eternal results, than any movement of 
any nation's policy ever on record. All such issues, 
heretofore, have been made up by the few in power, 
by consolidated governments and councils, in regard to 
whose determinations the people have no choice, and 
whose edicts are only to be registered and executed, 
unless the people have had the virtue to resist them. 
So the world has gone on, amid the oppression of the 
poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice 
in provinces ; the place of judgment, and iniquity 
there, the place of righteousness, and iniquity there ; 
oppressors making wise men mad, and the few assum- 
ing, by robbery and tyranny, the responsibility of 
many, defrauding them almost of moral agency. 

But out of this condition of the world there has 
been great progress ; it is given to our country to see 

80 GOD AGAINST S L A V E 11 Y . 

whether the many will act more truly and justly for 
God. and mercifully and righteously for themselves 
and others, than the few ; whether human nature is 
unjust, selfish, and tyrannical in the few only, be- 
cause few, and intrusted with too great a trust, or in 
the many also, except God's grace interpose. It is a 
new, vast, unexampled step, that of a question of 
morality for hundreds of millions and for ages, com- 
mitted to a whole people to determine, by the expres- 
sion of individual judgment as responsible as if the 
whole decision were thrown upon each one's own mind. 
The question of duty with us is therefore not 
merely national, and corporate, but individual, in- 
asmuch as every man is called to vote, and to vote 
freely, according to his own opinion and choice. It 
is his highest moral responsibility, and most solemn 
action, as connected with the state. In forming his 
opinions, justly or unjustly, and in selecting his 
representatives or agents, with reference to those 
opinions, and in voting for his rulers, he is himself 
the actor of the justice or the injustice. What a man 
does by his agent, he does himself. Qui facit per 
aliu?n, facit per se. If a man orders a broker to 
buy, he buys ; if a man hires an assassin to murder, 
he murders If a man votes for Senator, Repre- 
sentative, President, or Governor, pledged to pursue 
a particular line of oppression and iniquitous policy, 
he votes for that iniquity, he sustains it, he transacts 
it himself, he will have to stand before God in judg- 


ment on that indictment. The vote is always a moral 
trust, but especially when a great moral question is 
to be determined by it. It is, of all others, a thing 
of individual responsibility, and a matter of con- 
science, a matter between the soul and God, a matter 
of religion, and not of mere politics, a matter in 
which every man ought to seek the instruction of 
God's word, and in which we are bound to proclaim 
God's judgment. We do not preach to the gov- 
ernment, but to the people, the government being 
merely their agent. We do not preach to the people 
on a question of mere expediency, or diplomacy, or 
profit, or political economy, or statesmanship, or even 
of what is best, but of w T hat is right, of what God 
allows. The question of slavery is not a question of 
power or revenue, but of rectitude ; and, since God's 
will is plainly expressed upon it, a question of obed- 
ience to God's law. Beyond all contradiction therefore 
it is a legitimate, appropriate, authoritative subject for 
the pulpit ; and if the course proposed for the nation is 
that not only of sanctioning and sustaining the system 
of slavery, but of enforcing it as the policy of a new 
state, the system to be set at the heart of a virgin 
society, and men who religiously hate and abhor it to 
bo driven into an endurance of it and submission to it 
at the point of the bayonet, then no true embassador 
for God can avoid speaking out. On the plain and 
pungent principles laid down in Ezekiel, he is bound 

to proclaim God's denunciation of such an iniquity. 




But here again I hear the stale, accustomed out- 
cry of political preaching ; and perhaps you say, it 
produces noise and agitation, dispute and disturbance, 
in the churches, to have the sluices of God's word 
opened on this iniquity, and revivals of religion will 
be stopped, and every thing will go to ruin. But, we 
may be sure every thing will go to ruin by sin, and 
not by the efforts to put a stop to sin. It produces a 
dreadful noise, to have the safety-valves opened on 
board a steamboat racing with such reckless speed 
and pressure of steam, that the boiler is about burst- 
ing. And suppose a party of men on board, engaged 
in a religious conversation, should run and jump upon 
the safety-valve, to prevent that noise, declaring that 
they could not converse while the noise continued. 
Would that be piety or wisdom? Suppose they 
asserted that all the danger was from the noise, and 
not from the racing. Tour fire-engines make a great 
noise, tearing through the streets to put out a confla- 


gration. Suppose that they should be indicted as a 
nuisance, while the incendiary goes at large, and the 
flames prosper. According to the word of God, he 
that kindled the fire shall make restitution, not he 
that made a great disturbance in striving to put it 

Ludicrous as it may seem, I have absolutely had 
the charge brought against my preaching, that it 
excites the nerves to such a degree that the man could 
hardly sit still under it. A man complained to a 
friend who brought him to church one Sabbath even- 
ing, that he never was so excited in his life, that he 
did not come to church to be excited, but quieted, but 
that he never found himself under such excitement 
of mind anywhere, and he would not stand it. Poor 
man, just as if the word of God were nothing but 
carpenter- work, to make sound sleepers ! He did not 
consider that there are sleepers enough in our churches 
any day, strong timber, and no danger of disturbing 
them ; and that the very thing we need is excitement 
by the truth, excitement in the mind, excitement in 
the heart, excitement in the conscience. But you 
can not have it all one way ; and when there are 
snags in the mind, there will be a ripple where the 
current of truth sweeps over them. Hurlgate itself 
could be kept smooth, by widening the channel, and 
blowing up the rough rocks at the bottom. 

Between the mealy-mouthedness of preachers, and 
the mealy-heartedness of the people, with the motto, 


first peaceable, then pur& : there comes to be a most 
unsubstantial, unreliable state of things. Christians 
educated in this manner are not to be relied upon for 
a confession of the truth in troublous times, or a 
defense of it when it becomes unpopular. You might 
as well make a cable out of a bag of meal as expect to 
hold fast by such a Christianity. The fashionable 
and time-serving congregations can not endure plain 
truth. The flour of the gospel itself must be so 
finely and exquisitely bolted, that all the strength is 
excluded, all that goes to make bone and gristle, and 
between that and the evil mentioned in God's word 
(Ephraim is a cake not turned), you get nothing 
from the gospel-oven but dough-faces. And the 
same monstrous inconsistency is visible now, in the 
profession and life of Christians, as was in the character 
of the people of God of old, when in one verse he 
described them as a people making great ostentation 
of seeking God, and delighting in his ordinances, and 
parading their oblations, and in the next as a rebel- 
lious generation, a lying people, who would not listen 
to the word of the Lord, when it condemned their own 
cherished and defended sins. They fasted, but re- 
fused to break a single yoke. They prayed, they 
made long prayers, and then turned and gave their 
influence against all preaching and all effort to estab- 
lish freedom instead of slavery, which was quite 
equivalent to making long prayers, and then devour- 
ing widows' houses. Just so now, men pray for 


revivals of religion, but if any brother from the 
country, too simple-hearted to understand the atmos- 
phere and the currents of the prayer-meeting, happens 
to pray for the deliverance of the oppressed and the 
enslaved, a feeling runs through the room, as of some- 
thing strange, ill-judged, unmannered, as if fanaticism 
has appeared bodily in the assembly. If slavery be 
in any way referred to, they remark upon the inju- 
diciousness of such preaching, how certain it is to put 
a stop to revivals of religion, and drive away the 
pious praying hearts that long for the outpouring of 
God's Spirit. 

Now is it to be supposed that God does not see to 
the very bottom of such hollow professions, or that 
his indignation against such hypocrisy is any less at 
this day than it was when he told his people of old, 
that all their oblations and their approaches to him, 
were a smoke in his nose, instead of gaining his 
approbation, and that even when they burned incense 
to him, it was no better than if they blessed an idol ? 
Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul 
delighteth in their abominations ; I also will choose 
their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them. 
God is not mocked, and we have yet to learn what 
that meaneth ; I will have mercy , and not sacrifice. 
Love your neighbor as yourself, and thus prove that 
the love of God is in you. 

A deplorable, sickly, hypocritical fastidiousness is 
in danger of settling down on our congregations, 


destructive of every thing manly, bold, and original. 
There are plenty of gentlemen with kid gloves in our 
pulpits, but no brawny blacksmiths with sledge-ham- 
mers; or if by chance a sledge-hammer ever does 
come into play, it must be garlanded with silk and 
flowers, or cased in India rubber, to accommodate 
itself to the elastic conscience with which it is to come 
in contact; and even then, though it may be used 
advantageously to pound all in pieces the sin of 
dancing, it can not preserve a conservative reputation 
if brought down upon any organic iniquity. But 
God's description of his word as a fire and a hammer 
certainly smacks of the blacksmith's shop rather than 
the parlor, and looks as if burning thoughts and hard 
blows were more acceptable to him than fastidious 
elegances. Our young men look in vain to our 
pulpits for that sympathy with the oppressed, and 
affinity with the native impulses of the human heart 
for freedom, which true religion always possesses, and 
which the true gospel cultivates. They are repelled 
by the cold, sanctimonious caution with which all 
enthusiasm for freedom is banished from the sanc- 

I have but just received a note from a brother 
minister in which he says, after inquiring as to Jere- 
miah's positions, " The pro-slavery sentiment here has 
spiked so many guns, that they expect to spike mine 
without much difficulty. I only wish it was of a 
larger caliber." Now it is rather hazardous business, 


this spiking guns while the fight is waging ; and one 
thing is certain, if conscience has had the casting of 
the gun, and the management of it, the attempt to 
spike it will only result in filling it to the very 
muzzle with grape-shot, and giving a tenfold fury to 
its cannonadings. Spike the guns of the gospel 
against men's sins ? Try the experiment. More than 
forty men once bound themselves with an oath that 
they would neither eat nor drink till they had spiked 
Paul's gun by killing him ; but they only opened 
before him a wider and more effectual door of utter- 
ance, and mean time we do not read that they starved 
themselves to death, though really all that their oath 
could do was only to spike their own stomachs. Just 
so the pope tried to spike Luther's gun, but only 
taught him how to load and fire more effectually. 

And this is the effect which outrages upon truth 
and justice always will have, and ought to have, upon 
faithful and noble souls ; it will only make them still 
more earnest and resolute. Certainly, when truth is 
fallen in the street, and equity can not enter, and he 
that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey, it is 
time for gap-men, time for the duke's guard, time 
for Cromwell's invincibles, time to storm the enemy 
with greater energy than ever, but not to compromise 
our principles or spike our guns. 

The truths that have been outraged are to be re- 
proclaimed in the spirit of outraged truth, at the 
behest of conscience, in the service of the God of 


truth. They may require the voice of loud alarm 
and impassioned warning. " Such," says Coleridge, 
" are in our own times the agitating truths with 
which Thomas Clarkson and his excellent confeder- 
ates the Quakers, fought and conquered the legalized 
banditti of men-stealers, the numerous and powerful 
perpetraters and advocates of rapine, murder, and of 
blacker guilt than either, slavery. Truths of this kind 
being indispensable to man, considered as a moral 
being, are above all expedience, all accidental conse- 
quences ; for as sure as God is holy, and man immortal, 
there can be no evil so great as the ignorance or disre- 
gard of them." Both the duty and the privilege of 
bearing such testimony, and of rebuking such wicked- 
ness, especially in high places, has been defended and 
demonstrated with illumination so dazzling, on occa- 
sions so illustrious, in a manner so noble, and with 
consequences so grand, that the instances are the most 
impressive and instructive chapters of history. I 
have seldom met with a prouder and more fearless 
averment of the grandeur, solemnity, and imperious 
necessity of such testimony in the teeth of tyranny, 
than that of Lord Erskine, when the minions of the 
British crown, and a cringing, tyrannical judiciary 
were endeavoring to force the guilt of constructive 
treason upon innocent men, and to compel a jury to 
bring in a charge of guilty, just as they are now 
doing with innocent men in Kansas, but in that Terri- 
tory in a manner more outrageous, more defiant of 


truth, freedom, and righteousness, than ever before in 
any nation under heaven. " Gentlemen/ 7 said Lord 
Erskine to the jury, " this is such a horrible proposi- 
tion, the imputation of treason to men whom we know 
never designed it, and the proposition to hang them 
by law on account of it, though they could have been 
indicted only by perversion of the law. that I would 
rather, at the end of all these causes, when I had fin- 
ished my duty to their unfortunate objects, die upon 
my knees thanking God that for the protection of 
innocence and the safety of my country, I had been 
made the instrument of denying and reprobating such 
wickedness, than live to the age of Methuselah for 
letting it pass unexposed and unrebuked." 

The religious sacredness and nobleness of testi- 
mony against oppression were never more grandly 
illustrated; but if such be the convictions and ex- 
alted sentiments of an advocate at an oppressive 
earthly tribunal, surely, they who occupy the place 
of ministers of God's truth in God's own sanctuary 
ought to be animated by impulses not less sacred, 
ought to glory in their testimony with an ardor not 
less sublime. 

But why do we refer to mortal instances, when we 
have the example of divine ? In the judgment-hall of 
Pilate, Christ Jesus himself transcendently glorified 
and illustrated the duty of bearing testimony to 
oppressed and persecuted truth, by declaring that his 
own object, even in becoming incarnate, was to give 


it utterance, and to stand up in behalf of it. To this 
end was I born, and for this cause came I into the 
world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. 

Now when we hear God declaring that the throne 
of iniquity, which frameth mischief by a law, shall 
not have fellowship with him, and when we hear him 
saying Woe unto them that decree unrighteous de- 
crees, and write grievousness which they have pre- 
scribed ; it is beyond all possibility of doubt that the 
denunciation from the pulpit, of such vast, creative, 
germinating, and accumulating wickedness, is pleas- 
ing in his sight. It is one object for which he has 
established the pulpit, and given it a sacredness in 
the opinion and a hold upon the hearts and conscien- 
ces of men. But let ministers beware how they lose 
that reverence, by yielding up the freedom of the 
pulpit to the fear of man, and suffering the hypocriti- 
cal outcry of political preaching to prevent them from 
pouring the light of God's word on political sins. 

Lord Erskine denounced the wickedness of the 
imputation of treason to men who were known to be 
true lovers of their country and of freedom, and the 
infiimy of the proposition to hang them up by an 
indictment which itself could not be framed except by 
perversion of the law. But the wickedness that Lord 
Erskine was called to battle against might almost 
boast of sanctity in comparison with the complica- 
ted villainies transacted in Kansas, and enforced by 
our government. For we have there the unrivalled 


atrocity of a pretended territorial legislature, proved 
and acknowledged by our own government to be a 
violent fraud and usurpation, and all its authority 
null and void, yet sustained by our national gov- 
ernment, with the whole available force of the United 
States army ; we have in the second place the atrocity 
of laws enacted by the same legislature, and pro- 
nounced by the Senate and House of Representatives 
to be infamous, barbarous, unconstitutional, and fit 
only to be broken and trampled on, yet enforced by 
the same government at the point of the bayonet ; 
we have in the third place the transcendent farce and 
wickedness of the very best men in this outraged 
Territory indicted and imprisoned frr the crime of 
high treason in peacefully and constitutionally oppos- 
ing this diabolical usurpation, and their fetters riven, 
and their prison guarded by the same government 
with the same army. I defy all history, from the 
foundation of the world, to show any usurpation to be 
compared for atrocity, with this unparalleled wicked- 
ness, for it is a usurpation entered into and sustained 
for the extension and perpetuity of slavery. And if 
the people of this country tamely submit to such 
shameless and monstrous prostitution of law and 
complication of injustice, their liberties are dead and 
buried from this time and forever. And yet, the Ex- 
ecutive of this undeniable and enormous tyranny 
remains unimpeached; and there are not wanting 


men bearing the Christian name to palliate if not to 
justify and sanctify the wrong ! 

This could never be, if we, as a people, had kept 
the word of God in view, and had not forgotten or 
denied its principles. We need to return to them, 
and to examine this iniquity, and our conduct and 
position, in their light. Even as politicians, in regard 
to this matter, we must take our stand on God's 
word, and square our policy, our platform, according 
to it, or we shall surely perish as a nation, and with 
such a destruction as the world never beheld. 

I invite you, therefore, in the first place, to a calm 
investigation of the judgment in the word of God in 
regard to the -system of slavery. In the second 
place, it being proved to be a sin in the sight of God, 
I invite you to consider the defiant iniquity, the dar- 
ing and abominable impiety, of making it the great, 
chosen, and perpetual policy of the nation, a system 
not only tolerated, but to be protected, defended, ex- 
tended, and enforced. 



That the system of slavery is sinful in the sight 
of God, is capable of demonstration by several dis- 
tinct lines of proof. We take the simplest first, and 
from that ascend to a broader induction. First, there 
is the law of love. Second, there are the laws against 
oppression. Third, there are the laws against man- 
stealing and man-selling. Fourth, there is the nature, 
the inviolable sacredness, of the parental relation. 
Fifth, there are the recorded retributive judgments of 
God for the attempt to hold and use servants as prop- 
erty. Sixth, there is the providential argument of 
great power, the manifestation of God's curse upon 
the established system of slavery in full blast, and 
the destruction of nations by it. The evolution of 
the argument on any one of these lines would be 
enough for conviction ; the forces marched upon them 
all, are overwhelming, irresistible. I restrict myself 
to the word of God, and even thus, much brevity will 


be requisite, in its various steps, to compass the argu- 

First, we take the Law of Love. " Thou shalt 
love thy neighbor as thyself;" and, u Whatsoever ye 
would that men should do to you, do ye even so to 
them." Neither color nor race puts any man out of 
the category of my neighbor. You would not your- 
self be made a slave. You can not, in conscience, 
say that you would, under any circumstances, be so 
treated, be deprived of your natural liberty, and held 
as the property of another. You feel that you are a 
person, and not a chattel, and that to be treated as a 
person and not a chattel, is your right, by the law of 
common reciprocal justice and benevolence. 

If you had been stolen and sold, or your father 
before you, and had passed through forty differ- 
ent hands, called your owners, you would still feel 
that no theft of your father, grandfather, or most 
remote ancestor before you, could pass by transmis- 
sion into honest ownership, or could give to any 
human being any right of property in you, and that 
no money whatever could purchase such right. Ap- 
plied to yourself, as a man, to yourselves as men, you 
know, you feel, that these principles are undeniable, 
impregnable ; by the law of God, then, you are bound 
to apply them to others, as yourselves. On this 
ground, the command in the New Testament, specific 
as to duty, " Masters, give unto your servants that 
which is just and equal/' would strike the fetters 


from every slave in existence. No man can claim 
property in man and not violate that injunction. 
You would not have your fellow-men compel you to 
serve without wages. You w r ould not have a master 
sell your wife and your children from you. You 
would not have your fellow-beings take away every 
natural right and dignity of a human being from you, 
and treat you as a beast of burden. You would not 
consider it exaction, on your part, if you demanded 
that your children should be your children, and 
should be free, since you never entered into any con- 
tract with any human creature otherwise, and could 
not rightfully have done such a thing, if you had 

Now, then, the law of love demands in you the 
same treatment, the same award of justice, to your 
fellow-being ; and any relation in which you hold 
him, subversive of these natural rights and claims of 
love, is sinful. The compulsory relation itself, as 
your work, is sinful. It is sin per se, and can not 
possibly be otherwise. I might trace and demonstrate 
this sinfulness, in other infractions of the law; but 
the worst of all, and the most prolific, is the robbery 
of children from their parents, the moment they are 
born into the world, and the claiming, as your pro- 
perty, what was the gift of God to those parents, 
what you never paid a farthing for, what you never 
made a contract for, what you never received from 
any trader even in human flesh, and over which you 


have not the least shadow of a claim, on any ground 
on which human beings ever settle the just relation- 
ship of possession or ownership, as between one 
another. You can not in any thing do to others as 
you would they should do to you, if in this funda- 
mental thing you take their children, and claim and 
use them as your property. You could not rightfully 
use your own children as your property ; much less 
the children of others. 

I might rest the whole argument here ; but I pass 
to a second demonstration of the sinfulness of slavery 
in the various laws enacted against oppression, which 
are indeed necessary conclusions from the law of love. 
If slavery is not oppression, nothing under heaven 
can be. It is the violation, in every particular, of 
every one of the statutes of God against that wick- 
edness. "When God says, Cursed be he that op- 
presseth his neighbor, in whatever respect : that curse 
comes, in every possible shape, upon the man who 
claims property in man ; because that claim gathers 
up into itself every conceivable exaction and exasper- 
ation of tyranny, either as essence or result. When 
God says, Thou shalt not oppress the stranger, the 
fatherless, the widow, the servant, the hireling ; and 
when he teaches us to pray, Deliver me from the 
oppression of man : so will I keep thy precepts ; 
every one of these statutes and instructions demon- 
strates the system of slavery to be sinful ; because 
its fundamental claim of property in man is the sum 


of all these oppressions, and God could never sanction 
in a general system as right, that which He forbids, 
in every particular, as wrong. All the laws against 
oppression, all the manifestations of God's abhorrence 
of it, go to show the divine sentiment and sentence 
in reprobation of slavery, God's hatred of it, God's 
intense feeling and judgment against it. When God 
says, u If a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, 
ye shall not vex him, but the stranger that dwelleth 
with you shall be unto you as one born among you, 
and thou shalt love him as thyself;" and when He 
names the counts in His indictment of the nation for 
its sins, "In the midst of thee have they dealt by 
oppression with the stranger ; the people of the land 
have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and 
have vexed the poor and needy ; yea, they have op- 
pressed the stranger wrongfully :" the just moral 
application of these sentences can not possibly be 
made without the condemnation of slavery as sin. 

There was never, at any time, in the Jewish stat- 
utes, or authorized by them, any such thing as 
slavery in the Hebrew nation; never any claim of 
property in man. When they fled out of Egypt, 
there were no slaves with them ; the census of souls 
is that of free souls only ; not a creature went out of 
Egypt on compulsion. And the laws' promulgated 
by Moses, in regard to the obtaining and the treat- 
ment of servants, were in no respect what is called 

slave-legislation, but legislation against slavery j 



legislation to render its introduction into the nation 
absolutely and forever impossible ; legislation only 
for the voluntary contracts of service with free men. 
The obtaining of a servant by such a contract was 
called the buying of him ; it was simply and solely 
the buying of his time and service for such period as 
might be specified in the contract; and, to prevent 
the possibility of such service running into slavery by 
long possession, the period itself of such contracts w T as 
limited to six years ; and if in any case extended to 
a longer time, only by solemn mutual agreement, 
and in no case, on no consideration, nor with any 
party, could such contract hold beyond the jubilee. 
Every fifty years, every servant in the land was free. 
And children were never servants because their 
parents were ; no claim upon the time or service of 
the parents created any claim to that of the children. 
Servitude was not transmitted by birth, and never 
could be. Every instance of service, whether of the 
Hebrews or the heathen, was by free voluntary con- 
tract. The same phraseology is used of contracts 
with the heathen as of those with the Hebrews, and 
the one is no more a possession than the other. 
Whether Hebrew or heathen, when a man entered 
into a contract with a servant, he was said to have 
bought him (as, when he married a wife, he was said 
to have bought /*er), and as to the obligation to fulfill 
the contract, and perform the work paid for, the ser- 
vant was described as his money, his possession, for 


that contracted period. Hebrews thus sold them- 
selves to strangers or heathen, and heathen sold them- 
selves to Hebrews, but in every case as freemen, in 
no case as property. There is no such idea as that 
of property in man recognized, except as a wicked 
oppression ; and the whole Mosaic legislation guarded 
the people at every point against such oppression, and 
was admirably contrived to render it impossible. 

In consequence of these careful and humane stat- 
utes, both the spirit of the Hebrew constitution and 
the letter of the law, so effectually secured freedom as 
a personal birth-right, that the idea of slavery, in our 
sense of the term, was never embodied in the language. 
There is no word to signify what we call a slave, a 
human being degraded into an article of property. 
And the laws were minute and specific in regard to 
the treatment of servants, and their rights, to such a 
degree, with such explicitness and exactness, in order 
that there might never be any temptation to introduce 
or establish slavery in the land, it being from the out- 
set made so impossible, that without direct defiance of 
Almighty God no man could intend such a thing, and 
no tribe could accomplish it. And accordingly, not- 
withstanding all the oppression of which the Jews 
were guilty, and the instances and forms in which 
they evaded the law, and at length attempted to 
establish slavery itself instead of the system of volun- 
tary paid service prescribed by law, yet never, at any 
time in Palestine, was there any slave-mart or public 


slave-traffic. Babylon and Tyre, Greece and Rome, 
all nations of the earth, indeed, out of the land that 
was under the teaching and discipline of these laws 
of God, maintained the slave-trade ; and never a phi- 
losopher, unenlightened by God's word, rose high 
enough to see its wickedness ; but in Judea its viola- 
tion of the first principles of justice and humanity 
were so manifest by the law of God, and so many 
statutes combined to render it impossible, that though 
the idol altars of the heathen world were at length 
naturalized in Israel, and in the seductions of idol 
worship the people were carried headlong, yet the 
slave-traffic and the slave-mart never once obtained a 

But here you aver that God devoted Ham to per- 
petual slavery. It is difficult to treat this ludicrous 
and wicked refuge of oppression either with patience 
or gravity. For, in the first place, it was not God, 
but Noah, who pronounced the curse ; in the second 
place, the curse fell not upon Ham, but upon Canaan, 
whose descendants were as white as the Hebrews or 
ourselves ; in the third place, the descendants of Ham, 
as you claim the Africans to be, have nothing to do 
with this curse. Your pretended title to curse them 
is not in this deed ; your pretension to a right from 
heaven to lay this curse upon them, and hold them as 
your property, is the wildest, vastest, most sweeping 
and diabolical forgery ever conceived or committed. 
You pretend to be, by charter from heaven, the min- 


isters of God's vengeance against a whole continent of 
men, a whole race of mankind, whom, in the execu- 
tion of that vengeance, you are to hold and sell a3 
your property. You are the trustees of this will of 
Jehovah, the executors of this inheritance of wrath, 
and as such you are to be paid for your trouble in 
proving the instrument, and carrying its details into 
operation, by assuming the objects of the curse as 
your property ! 

Now, then, come into court, and show your own 
names in this instrument. God himself is the Judge 
of Probate, and all those who ever defrauded or 
oppressed the widow or the fatherless will find it so to 
their cost forever, except they repent of their wicked- 
ness. Where is the sentence in which God ever 
appointed you, the Anglo-Saxon race, you, the mix- 
ture of all races under heaven, you, who can not tell 
whether the blood of Shem, Ham, or Japhet mingles 
in your veins, you, the assertors of a right to traffic 
in human flesh, you, worse Jews, by this very claim, 
more degraded, more debased in your moral princi- 
ples, than the lowest tribe of Jews who were swept for 
their sins from the promised land. Where is the 
sentence in which God ever appointed you, four 
thousand years after Noah and his children had gone 
to their graves in peace, to be the executors of Noah's 
will, with the whole inheritance given to you, as your 
property, for your profit, the reward of your faithful- 
ness in fulfilling God's curse? Where is God's 


curse ? Where is the gift of property at all ? Where 
is the designation of the race whom you pounce upon 
by this mighty forgery, and where the designation of 
the race commissioned to pounce upon them? You 
might as well go to Russia, and take the subjects of 
the Czar. You might as well go to England, and 
take your cousins of the sea-girt isle, the descendants 
of your own great-grandfathers. You have no more 
claim upon the Africans than you have upon the 
aborigines of the Rocky Mountains. The whole 
thing is a more frantic forgery than madness itself, 
unless it had the method of the deepest depravity, 
could have ever dreamed. But then again, if God 
devoted Ham to perpetual slavery, he also devoted 
strangers to perpetual freedom. All the strangers in 
the land were to be treated as those born in it, to be 
loved and treated as brethren; and you are God's 
executors for this law of love^ and not for any law 
of vengeance to accommodate your own selfishness. 
There is no article in God's will giving you all 
strangers as your property, or allowing you to buy 
and sell strangers. 

Again, there is an infamous contradiction of a 
graver kind, in the logic applied in support and sanc- 
tion of this wickedness. You say that God subjected 
Ham to bondage, and that you are God's appointed 
instrument to fasten the chains upon him, the curse, 
the vengeance of perpetual slavery. But then, in 
another breath, in order to excuse yourself for this 


instrumentality, and under a galling sense of its 
odiousness and shame, you say that God is a God of 
wondrous mercy and love, and has appointed the poor 
Africans to be Christians, and has made you no 
longer the executioners of his wrath, but the almoners 
of his bounty, to convert them, by means of slavery, 
to Christ. You are appointed to put chains upon 
them, and to buy and sell them as your property 
forever, in order to make freemen of them in Christ 
Jesus. You are God's appointed missionaries, to 
Christianize them by the gospel of slavery ! 

But did God ever put that in the will? We 
thought he appointed you, as residuary legatees, to 
execute his curse upon Ham, and in default of any 
other heirs direct, to take the blackest colored skins 
upon the earth four thousand years after all Canaan's 
posterity had died out of existence, and lay the cursed 
inheritance upon them, and sell them as your prop- 
erty. Now you can not get the curse and the bless- 
ing out of the same will. If a man leaves a hundred 
thousand dollars to endow a hospital, you can not, by 
law, take that and apply it to the endowment of a 
vast distillery. And if a man left a million to be 
spent in exterminating rats or wild beasts, you could 
not, by law, take that and endow a Trinity cathedral 
with it. And if you were named, for example, as 
executor in a man's will, who had given five hundred 
thousand dollars to be spent in making a descent 
upon Cuba to establish perpetual slavery there, you 


could not come into court and aver that under that 
will, and as its meaning, you had been appointed to 
take that money, and make that descent, for the pur- 
pose of converting all the inhabitants into free repub- 
licans, and giving them a constitution of their own. 
You might come into court, indeed, but you would be 
speedily turned out of it. And no principles or prec- 
edents of human custom or equity would ever permit 
men to deal by subtlety, sophistry, and perversion, witn 
any human instrument of policy or conveyance, as 
the advocates of slavery deal with God's word. No 
court, hardly even Jefferies's, would have suffered 
such palpable distortion and misinterpretation of the 
king's statutes. 

The claim set up by Americans, eighteen hundred 
and fifty-seven years after Christ, to hold the African 
race as their chattel property, by reason of the curse 
pronounced on Canaan two thousand three hundred 
and forty-seven years before Christ, exceeds in the 
extravagance of its impudence and madness any 
Christian or pagan hallucination ever assumed by any 
nation under heaven. You will say it is too ridicu- 
lous to receive a sober notice ; but I have had to meet 
it as a grave and serious claim, put forward by a 
professedly religious person, who deliberately urged it 
as a proof that slavery could not be sinful in the 
sight of God ! 

Shall we or shall we not make God's word our 
guide, God's law our standard? Time is like an 


inclined plane, and a nation that has dragged slowly 
and carefully up to the summit, may go down on the 
other side, by carelessness and treason toward God, as 
swift almost as the lightning. God himself removes 
the brakes, when a nation deliberately cuts loose from 
his law, and sets up its policy of profit in defiance of 
his righteousness ; and when God lets go his restrain- 
ing grasp, then the crash is not far off, and when it 
comes, is terrible. They may say unto God, Depart 
from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways ; 
but the voice comes, Woe unto them when I depart 
from them, and their whirl to ruin is like a wheel of 

The atrocities in Kansas have roused up very 
many who w T ould not have been aroused by the 
claims of simple truth and justice. There are those 
who can not be made to see that our liberties are 
endangered, or are worth keeping and defending at 
the cost of painful effort and expense, unless there 
is actual, intolerable, and continued outrage. And 
some men are more affected by fire, thunder, and 
fury, than by quiet truth, and power. An unpre- 
tending man or principle passes with them for noth- 
ing; but a man full of swagger, ferocity, and pro- 
faneness is your great man. Any thing done in a 
quiet way seems to them not done at all, or not worth 
doing, and certainly not worth praying for. One is 
reminded of the man who came to a skillful dentist to 
have a tooth pulled, and when it was done in an 


incredibly brief space of time with very little pain, 
objected to the charge of half a dollar for the opera- 
tion, declaring that on former occasions he had been 
pulled by his jaw half way across the room, and 
almost killed with pain, and had only paid a quarter 
of a dollar for the whole of it. Let no man think 
that by waiting for greater outrages he can get relief 
at a cheaper rate. 



The people of the land have used oppression and 
exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy ; 
yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. 
And I sought for a man among them that should 
make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me 
for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found 
none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation 
upon them ; I have consumed them with the fire of 
my wrath, their own ways have I recompensed upon 
their heads, saith the Lord God.^ This passage was 
written with reference to precisely the same genera- 
tion, and precisely the same iniquity as the tremen- 
dous passage on the 34th chapter of the prophecy of 

To those who have not examined the subject, it 
may seem strange that not the sin of idolatry, but 
the sin of slavery, the violation of the law of free- 
dom, should have been marked of God as the one 
*Ezekiel xx: 29, 30, 31, 


decisive act of wickedness that filled up the measure 
of the Jewish iniquities, and brought down the wrath 
of God upon them without remedy or repeal. But 
the wonder ceases, when the nature of the crime is 
taken into consideration. Being a crime concocted 
and determined by princes, priests, and people, to- 
gether with the king, it was really making the whole 
nation a nation of men-stealers ; and man-stealing 
was a crime whose penalty was death ; so that the 
adopting of it by the government and the people was 
an enshrining of the iniquity in public and glaring 
defiance of God's authority, in the form of their state 
policy. They thought themselves secure against 
punishment, as a corporation of usurpers, under guilt 
which they could not have committed as individuals 
without exposure to the penalty of death. But the 
sword of God came down upon them in the very 
midst of this appalling crime, as swift, almost, as the 

They were deliberately inaugurating an iniquity, 
as their chosen state policy, which they knew would 
increase in a numerical ratio from generation to gen- 
eration. If it could have been restricted to the first 
persons stolen, and deprived of their liberty, the 
iniquity would have been comparatively small. But 
for every two immortal beings forced into this chat- 
telism, there would be five others stolen and forced, 
in like manner, by the next generation ; the guilt of 
oppression on the one side, and the sufferance of 


cruelty on the other, enlarging as it ran on into 
posterity. Now to set going such a system of in- 
justice, which was to branch out like the hereditary 
perdition from the depraved head of a race, increas- 
ing as the Amazon ; to set a central spring of thou- 
sand other springs of domestic and state tyranny, 
coiled and coiling on, in geometrical progression ; and 
a central fountain of thousand other fountains of in- 
humanity and misery ; and to do this in opposition to 
the light of freedom and religion, and of laws in 
protection of liberty, given from God, and maintained 
by him for a thousand years, was so extreme and 
aggravated a pitch of wickedness, that it is not won- 
derful that God put an instant stop to it, by wiping 
Jerusalem and Judea of its inhabitants, as a man 
wipeth a dish and turneth it upside down. 

The evil of such a crime was the greater, because, 
while it is enlarging every year, both in guilt and 
hopelessness, it seems lessened in intensity, as it 
passes down into posterity. The sons of the first 
men-stealers would, with comparatively easy con- 
sciences, take the children of those whom their parents 
had stolen, and claim them as their property, being 
slaves born. But in fact we find that the guilt is 
double; because, while the parents may have been 
stolen only from themselves, the children are stolen 
both from the parents and from themselves. The 
stealing and inslaving of the parents could create no 
claim upon the children as property, nor produce any 


mitigation or extenuation of the sin of stealing the 
children also, and holding them as slaves. And so 
the guilt runs on, nor could the progress of whole 
a^es diminish it, or change its character. 

In pursuing our demonstration of the sinfulness of 
slavery, and consequently of the guilt of its exten- 
sion, we come next to the laws against man-stealing, 
man-selling, using men as servants without wages, 
and bringing them into bondage against their will. 
Slavery is forbidden of God, and condemned as sin- 
ful, by every one of them. He that stealeth a 


God be praised for this law ! It strikes through and 
through the vitals of this sin. 

Man-stealing and man-selling are almost the sole 
origin of slavery ; and in the Old and in the New 
Testament, these things are condemned as sins, 
worthy of death. But if neither stealing a man and 
selling him, nor holding him, nor conveying him in 
any way to another, could make him the property of 
another, neither could the buying of a man, so stolen, 
take away his right of property in himself, or con- 
vey it to another. The sum of fifty thousand dollars 
might be paid for a man offered to you by a slave- 
trader, but you would have no more right of property 
in him after you had paid that sum than before, or 
than if you had paid but one farthing. The common 
law lays down this principle, in regard to a horse, 


which, if it be stolen and sold forty times over, 
neither the selling, any more than the stealing, can 
take away the right of the rightful owner, but when- 
ever and wherever he appears, he can claim his prop- 
erty. Now a stolen man may have been passed 
through five hundred hands, and the five hundredth 
may have paid more for him than all the four hun- 
dred and ninety-nine put together; but the last 
purchaser has no more rightful claim over him, no 
more right of property in him, than the first stealer. 
And if he purchased him with the knowledge of his 
being originally stolen, he is himself also a thief, a 
conspirator, a pirate, on the principles of common 
law and righteousness. And if he had not that 
knowledge, but made the purchase ignorant of the 
original theft, his ignorance can not change right into 
wrong, can not take away the man's indefeasible and 
inalienable right of ownership over himself. The 
price of a world might have been paid for him, but 
he is still his own. When Joseph was sold by the 
Ishmaclitcs into Egypt, the purchase of him by Poti- 
phar did not take away, or diminish one iota, his in- 
destructible right of freedom in himself. Not the 
wealth of all Egypt could have given any purchaser 
the least right of property in him. 

He that stealeth, and selleth, or if he be found 
in his hands ; stealing, keeping, trading, all forbid- 
den on pain of death. It is impossible by transmis- 
sion to convert this crime into an innocent transaction. 


No man can innocently buy a fellow-man as property, 
or acquire any right of property in him, though he 
should give for him the cost of the whole solar sys- 
tem, if that could be weighed in God's balances and 
put into his hands. 

Now the main origin of all the slavery on our 
globe has been violence and theft. An unrighteous 
predatory war is theft ; such wars as the barbarous 
tribes in Africa wage against each other, and then sell 
their captives, are thefts. A man violently taken 
from his family, and thrust into bondage by such 
violence, is a stolen man, no matter whether ten men 
did the deed, or ten thousand. But the captives of 
the African race, the origin of the body of slaves in 
this country, were brought in as the prey of kidnap- 
pers, slave-traders, the most abandoned, degraded, in- 
fernal miscreants, on the face of the earth, hovering 
on the coast, stealing up the creeks and rivers, prowl- 
ing about the unguarded hamlets, and, like vultures, 
grasping their victims in their talons, or with strata- 
gems and lures, bribing others to entrap them. The 
slave-ships, and the slave-pens, have been crowded, 
and are still, for still the accursed traffic rages, with 
such outraged and down-trodden human beings, bought 
and sold, and the slave-property, so called, on this 
whole continent, is the result of bloody violence and 
theft. So that, though you may talk as much as you 
please of your slaves as being inherited, or as having 
been the property of your father, or grandfather, or 


great-grandfather, but every increase from every 
ship's cargo ever landed on our shores, from the 
latest importation in this generation, back to the 
landing and inslaving of the very first gang, is 
piracy ; and all the increase by natural propagation is 
the result of it, and the race is a stolen race. The 
quality of crime, the taint of theft, the essential 
element of man-stealing, is in the very title by which 
you claim any creature of that race as property. It 
is a brand that no art can efface, no file of sophistry 
can rasp it out, no machinery of law can erase it. 
The brand of ignominy which you put upon the 
slave, when you call him a chattel, and treat him as 
such, is the brand burned deeper in your bargain, in 
your complicity with robbery, in the immorality of 
your legal title, than in his soul ; and generation 
after generation can not cover it up, can not elimi- 
nate it ; can not so vulcanize it, but that the fires 
of the last day itself will only bring out more clear- 
ly its essence of oppression and iniquity. 

But we must apply the argument still more direct- 
ly and definitely to the children of the slaves, and 
the title of the slave-owner, so called, to the children 
born on his estate, under his jurisdiction. Suppose, 
then, that the stolen slave has children, born to him 
while under the compulsory dominion and ownership, 
so called, of his master. Po those children belong 
by right to the master ? Has he any better title to 
them than to their father, whom he bought knowing 


him to have been stolen ? Whose property are they ? 
Did the man's purchase of their father give any 
claim to them? Did the father himself make any 
bargain, either to sell himself or his children ? Nay, 
but the owner, so called, of the father, steals the 
children, the moment he claims them as his own. 
He commits the crime of man-stealing, the moment 
he declares those children to be his property. And 
if his children take those children as their property, 
and claim their children of the next generation as the 
same, they, in their turn, become men-stealers. And 
here we have, in brief compass, the very essence of 
slavery ; at every step downward, in its progression, 
it is man-stealing. There is no escaping from the 
logic of this argument. The facts, the principles of 
natural and revealed justice and law, and the reason- 
ing from them, hold you with a grasp as inexorable 
as death. All the generations of mankind to the last 
day, and all the complication of their interests, can 
not alter the nature of right and wrong. 

What can be a greater violation of natural right 
and justice, than to determine before-hand that the 
beings born shall be born your property, and that 
this is righteous law ? What claim have you ? 
Where did it begin? You say, perhaps, that you 
bought the parents, and paid for them. But you 
never bought the children; you have paid nobody 
for them, no master, no slave-dealer; if they are 
property, you have got it without an equivalent ; it 


is stolen property. Time can not sanctify the claim, 
but only increases the iniquity, for the more the 
slave's faculties are developed, and the more precious 
they and his rights are to himself, and the more profit 
you make out of them, the greater becomes the theft. 
Transmission can not sanctify it. You might as well 
argue that because Adam sinned, and you were born 
of sinful parents, it is therefore right for you to sin. 
Original sin has produced inherited righteousness ! 
What was original sin, by being inherited, becomes 
propagated holiness ! 



It is thus that the support of this iniquity requires 
and effects the perversion of all the principles of mo- 
rality. This is one of its greatest evils. It sanctions 
the principle. Let us do evil, that good may come. 
Because a few savages brought from Africa have 
been taught Christianity here, therefore the robbery 
by which they were brought is itself changed into 
piety ! The evil, out of which God brings good, is 
asserted to be good. Because some native Africans, 
stolen from their country, have been taught the gos- 
pel here, therefore, instead of giving them their free- 
dom here, let their posterity itself be enslaved, that 
slavery may be to them the means of redemption 
from a more barbarous state ! But the millions born 
in this country are not born in Africa, nor in barbar- 
ism, but under the light of the gospel, and have no 
need of slavery to redeem them. So that, even if 
the original iniquity of stealing men in Africa and 
making slaves of them in order to make them 
Christians, were right, it does not make it right to 


make slaves of their children, who are born, not in 
heathenism, but in Christianity. It is not slavery 
that redeems them, but slavery that prevents their 
free enjoyment of the light and civilization under 
which they were born. Their fathers may have 
been born in heathenism, and slavery may have re- 
deemed them from it ; but their children being born 
in Christianity, slavery plunges them into a state 
below it, and deprives them of its privileges. Their 
parents being made slaves are the cause, not of their 
being made Christians, but born slaves, and continued 
as such. Our forefathers being persecuted was the 
cause of their coming to this country as freemen. 
Is persecution therefore the just inheritance and law 
for their children, the normal state of their descend- 
ants ? 

It is this propagation of evil, this germinating 
power of sin, that fastens the curse of God inherent 
in the system. Every generation of this property, so 
called, is not only stolen, but the theft and impiety 
are enormously increased. In proportion as it travels 
a greater distance from the fountain, its volume is 
enlarged, till it rages like the sea. It becomes the 
domestic policy of a nation. It enters into all their 
system of justice and of law, corrupting and pervert- 
ing it. It has a reflex influence on society and 
character, sweeping the morals as with a pestilential 
wind, or a tide of impurity. The proverbs directed 
of God against the unjust accumulation of riches, 


strike into the heart of this iniquity, and work the 
retribution there. He that is greedy of gain troub- 
leth his own house. The curse of the Lord is in the 
house of the wicked. Cursed be he that oppresseth 
the poor, and they that sell the poor for silver, and 
the needy to increase their wealth. Wealth gotten 
by oppression bringeth its owner to shame. Cursed 
be he that useth his neighbor's service without 
wages, and giveth him not for his hire. He that 
getteth riches, but not by right, shall leave them in 
the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. 
They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns ; they 
have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit; ye 
shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the 
fierce anger of the Lord. A wasting pestilence, a 
fretting leprosy, a fire not blown, a rust that burns 
and consumes like fire, is in the riches of such a na- 
tion, and the wealth rolled up by such iniquity. All 
these curses are appropriated, are vindicated, by the 
propagation, by the perpetuity, by the extension, of 
the crime of slavery, and its being practiced for the 
profit of it. 

This germinating and perpetual quality and power 
of sin, inhering in slave property as it does in no 
other kind of riches, it is no wonder that God, in his 
legislation for mankind, condemned it at the fountain, 
and affixed to the crime of stealing a man, and using 
him as property, the penalty of death. The con- 
demning moral power of that penalty runs on with 


the propagation of the crime ; the condemnation does 
not die out, as if the crime itself died out by being 
propagated, or as if it were diluted instead of being 
increased, in passing to the next generation. On the 
contrary, whereas, to a wicked and remorseless man, 
bent on self-interest only, and accustomed to this 
wickedness, there may seem to be some actual claim 
of property in a man whom he has bought as a thing, 
and paid for as a thing, from another man who 
claimed the right to sell him as a thing, there is no 
shadow of such claim in taking the children of that 
man ; whom he grasps as his property, without ever 
paying a farthing for them, or consulting a creature 
in regard to them. So, sapposing the slave-father to 
beget two children, the slave-owner, so called, multi- 
plies the iniquity just in that ratio of increase in 
every generation : where he bought one, he steals 

It is partly for this reason that, coming down near 
two thousand years from the publication of these 
Mosaic statutes, Paul, in effect, republishes them 
under the authority of the gospel, and, in the Epistle 
to Timothy, includes man-stealing specifically among 
the other forms of sin forbidden by those statutes, 
and, accordingly, to be condemned by the gospel. 
But, to such a depth of corruption and blindness have 
the practice, the profit, and the legalization of slavery, 
sunk men's minds, that there have not been wanting 
creatures who, to evade the prodigious power of the 


argument against slavery drawn from the terms of 
the divine law, have contended that, not a man, as a 
man, but merely a Hebrew man, was signified in the 
statute against stealing a man and selling him; so 
that, to steal a man, as a man, might neither be un- 
lawful or unchristian, but only a Hebrew man. This 
attempted evasion of the universality and power of the 
first statute is founded on the specification in Deut. 
xxiv. 7: "If a man be found stealing any of his 
brethren of the children of Israel, and making mer- 
chandize of him, or selleth him, then that thief shall 
die." But this latter statute was passed forty years 
after the other, without any mention of the other, or 
connection with it, which proves that the other was 
never abrogated ; and if the other had referred solely 
to the Hebrew man, the latter had been perfectly 
superfluous, being neither a statute of limitation nor 
interpretation. It having been found, in the course 
of forty years, that the first and general law might 
have been claimed as applying only to the stranger 
or the heathen, and not to the stealing of a Hebrew, 
whose servitude, even if stolen, could not last more 
than six years, it was found necessary, for greater 
security and definiteness, to add the second enact- 
ment, specifying the Hebrew man. But any limita- 
tion of the first statute by the second is forbidden by 
the application of verse 14, of the same chapter : 
" Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor 
and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy 


strangers, that are in thy land within thy gates." 
Now, if a hired servant, that was not a Hebrew, could 
not be oppressed, any more than a native, much more 
could not such a one be stolen with impunity, or the 
thief escape the penalty. He could not be permitted 
to plead that because there was a law against stealing 
a Hebrew, therefore the law against stealing a man 
was null and void. But now, you perceive, the 
Apostle Paul has set this point forever at rest, by 
himself referring to the first law as applying not to 
Hebrew men, but to men, any man, a man. The 
word he uses in quoting the law is a word meaning 
MEN-STEALEiis, not J eio- stealers, not stealers of 
Hebrew men. Stealers of men he specifies, and his 
reference to the law there is no possibility of mistak- 
ing, and this sets the matter beyond dispute. 

Just so with reference to the other evasion (for 
there is no end to the quibbles and quirks with which 
men have struggled to prevent the crushing and an- 
nihilating power of these statutes) by which some 
have endeavored to restrict the application of the 
law against ???<m-stealing to the stealing of slaves, as 
if this statute were merely a law for the protecting 
and rendering more sacred a man's slave-property, 
making it, in fact, incomparably more sacred than 
any other property. They say that, indeed, to steal 
a slave from his owner is worthy of death, but not to 
steal a man, as a man, from himself, and from God 

his Maker. You may steal a free man, and make 



him a slave, and that process, in certain cases, in 
these latter days, may be just a Christian process for 
his good, the providential mode by which he is to be 
taught religion ! But the moment you have stolen 
him from himself, and made him a slave by selling him, 
then you have converted him into a sacred piece of pro- 
perty ! then, to steal him from his master, is a sacri- 
lege worthy of death ! Is the human mind capable of 
contriving a more diabolical or a meaner palpable 
Tesort of lying villainy than this ? Can Christian 
men believe that men could be found willing to de- 
scend to such baseness, or smit with the capacity of 
such detestable wrigglings and twistings of sophistry ! 
How much better to come out boldly, and deny that 
there is any guilt at all in stealing a man anywhere, 
if your interests, or the interests of your state, de- 
mand it. 

Unfortunately for this argument, or rather this 
make-shift in the place of argument, the Apostle 
Paul, in quoting and applying this law against men- 
stealers, does not speak of servants, but of men, and 
uses a Greek word of perfectly well known and 
unquestionable meaning, as applied to men, and not 
to slaves, so that this settles the matter, even if upon 
the interpretation of the statute there had rested the 
slightest cloud of uncertainty. 




In the fourth place, the inviolable sacredness of 
the parental relation, by which the children of the 
parents belong to them, and them only, a thing 
acknowledged even by the most barbarous tribes, all 
the world over, but settled by the legislation of the 
Hebrews, demonstrates slavery to be sin. For, the 
denial, the utter disregard, and ruthless violation of 
tho parental right and claim is one of the essential 
elements of slavery, so that one of the most valuable 
considerations of this kind of property is its life- 
power of reduplicating itself by propagation, through 
the very prostitution and perversion of the family 
and parental relation for the breeding of slaves. 
And it is wrought into slave-law in terms that 
might make the air redden with wrath at such a 
lie against immortality, and such a theft of body and 
soul in the very instant of birth, that the thing born 
follows the condition of the womb that bore it. The 
mother being the property of her master by law, the 
child born is, without any pretense of purchase, or 


equivalent paid, or bargain contracted, or permission, 
or consent asked or given, the property of the same 
master. This claim is in itself, and as wrought by 
law into the system of slavery, and set at its founda- 
tion, a criminal violation of the parental claim and 
authority as established by the Creator; in every 
generation it is stealing from the parents. Even if 
there were a bargain with the parents, that could not 
wipe out the guilt, or change the moral essence of 
the transaction. For no parent has any authority or 
right to sell his child. A man can not abrogate the 
responsibility of the parental relation for his child's 
own good, can not sell him to another for a price. A 
man can not sell what he does not own to sell. This 
it is, that vitiates the claim to the children as prop- 
erty, and beyond all possibility of contradiction dem- 
onstrates the system to be sin per se, that maintains 
such a claim as its essence. 

Now it is just here that the shoe fatally pinches ; 
the argument cuts to the quick. There is nothing at 
all that rouses up such anger as to be told that slave- 
holding is man-stealing. But the logic will have its 
way ; you can no more stop it than you can stop the 
lightning. And you can no more, by noise and fury, 
prevent the truth of this conclusion from being truth, 
or from being evident, than by drums and kettles you 
could call up an eclipse, or hang a vail over the solar 
system. Your exceptions are honestly and frankly 
ad^vitted. It is the case that under an inherited 


compulsion some become slaveholders in law, who are 
not such in gospel ; that is, they hold their slaves not 
as property, not as owners of them, but as human 
beings who own themselves, and to whom they owe, 
for their services, whatsoever is just and equal, and 
over whom they maintain their legal claim, not to sell 
them, but as masters and guardians for their good, as 
well as for domestic service, to preserve them from 
oppression, till the providence of God may open a 
door for all parties out of the whole evil. Less than 
this can not possibly consort with the phrase, that 
which is just and equal, nor with the law to do to 
others as you would they should do to you. But 
whosoever claims them as his property, to sell for 
money, as a horse is sold or a wheelbarrow; or 
whoever takes their children, born God's immortal 
souls, and says, These are my property, because I 
bought the parents, and these I can sell as mine, or 
do whatsoever I please with them that the law allows, 
that person is, by impregnable logic, a man-stealer. 
He may say, There is a wide diversity of opinion on 
this subject, and I never could see it in this light. 
He may keep out of the light, may refuse and scorn 
with great indignation to hear the argument from 
God's word; but that makes no difference in the 
truth itself, or its application. If he might see, and 
refuses to see, God is the judge why he will not see; 
but his keeping away from the light does not change 
the nature of the sin, any more than a man's commit- 


ting robbery at midnight, without a lantern, when he 
absolutely could not see whether what he stole was 
bank-bills or brown paper, prevents that act from 
being sin. 

But when a man says, I see, and with his eyes 
wide open goes into this wickedness as a sacred right, 
or if God sees that he loves darkness rather than 
light, because his deeds are evil, and that he hates 
the light, and cometh not to the light lest his deeds 
should be reproved; then God must take him in 
hand, and will administer judgment, for man can not 
do it. But ! the solemnity of that declaration in 
regard to any part of God's word that you will not 
hear, but deny, " The word that I have spoken, and 
which you reject, that same word shall judge you in 
the last day !" Men are apt to think, if they put 
away God's truth, and deny its application, or keep 
out of its light, that what they do in their imagined 
innocence, because they do not see or acknowledge its 
iniquity, they will not have to encounter in the judg- 
ment, under God's word, in God's interpretation, and 
not their own. But if they say, We see, we are not 
blind, and we know that we are right, then comes the 
answer, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin ; but 
now ye say, We see, therefore your sin remaineth. 
And for judgment I am come into this world, that 
they which see not might see ; that is, they that feel 
and acknowledge their blindness, and come to God for 
light ; and that they which see might be made blind ; 


that is, they who declare that they see, and can not 
and will not be taught by a greater light than their 
own opinions, even the light from heaven, they shall 
justly and judicially remain in blindness, and go on 
presumptuously and confidently sinning in conse- 

A man's keeping out of the light does not release 
him from responsibility, though the Romish casuists 
excuse the most enormous crimes in this way. A 
man has but to avoid or evade the truth, or to restrain 
himself from examination and reflection, and thence- 
forward for things done in ignorance he is not to be 
held to account. A Roman Catholic theologian, 
writing concerning the quality of human actions, 
says, " If a man commit adultery or homicide, reflect- 
ing indeed, but still very imperfectly and super- 
ficially, upon the wickedness and great sinfulness of 
these crimes, however heinous may be the matter, he 
still sins but slightly." That may be logic on earth, 
but it will never do in heaven. A man may abide 
by it here, but it will abide by him hereafter, to his 
cost, if he does not repent of it. There are degrees 
of sin, according to degrees of light, but they who 
keep .out of the light, in order that conscience may 
not plague or prevent them in the indulgence of sin, 
every degree of darkness into which they succeed in 
sinking themselves does but add to their guilt. They 
who deliberately sanction oppression, and live in and 
by the approval of the claim of property in man, 


maintaining slavery to be right as a divine institu- 
tion, can not do it and keep up to the profession of a 
Christian hope, but by violence and stifling some- 
where. Like divers, they have to put weights upon 
their feet, and armor over their bodies, to get down 
into such depths, and not die there ; and all the air 
they do get is but just enough to keep them from 
suffocating, and they get that in the most constrained, 
tortuous, artificial way. And the fact that people 
can live and breathe at all in such darkness is not to 
be taken as a proof that darkness is as good as light, 
or the sea as good as the air to live in. Just so, 
there is an abstract possibility, perhaps probability, 
and actuality of there being slaveholders, who are 
such in the eye of the law, but not in the eye of God, 
because they abjure before Grod all claim to any of 
their fellow-creatures as property, and consider their 
slaves as servants simply, to whom they are bound to 
give that which is just and equal. But one such 
case, or a dozen such, can not change the nature of 
the system, nor take away its sinfulness, nor excuse 
the wickedness of treating a man as a thing, nor 
shield slavery from being declared to be what it is, 
with the claim of property in man, sin per se. 

The crime of murder, considered simply as the 
killing of a man, is no more sin per se, than slav- 
ery ; there may be exceptions in the same way, but 
the exceptions do not destroy the rule. If a man 
kills another, as Moses did, in defense of his brother, 


the fact of such killing not being sinful does not pre- 
vent murder from being sinful per se. Just so, the 
fact of one man holding a slave under a State law 
that compels him to do it, by making it impossible 
for him to set him free, does not prevent another 
man's holding a slave as his property from being 
sinful in itself and absolutely. The claim of prop- 
erty in man is in itself and absolutely, by demonstra- 
tion of the divine law, sinful. But when a man 
holds a slave by slave-law, not as his property, but 
to protect him from the iniquity of such law, that is 
not claiming property in man, but denying it, and 
defending the victim of such claim. There is an 
infinite distance between that and slavery. It is not 
benevolence, but oppression, against which we con- 
tend. It is a very convenient mode of covering up 
the enormity from exposure and reprobation, to say 
that some men may hold slaves for their good. Very 
well ; and if all would do it, there would be no more 
slavery, and no more need of slave-law ; but this 
possibility does not change the nature of the system. 
By wranglings about per se, some men succeed in 
putting their own judgment and conscience at sea, 
and sinking their moral discernment in the sea of 
sophistry and falsehood. Can they imagine that God 
will excuse them, when they stand at his bar, and 
plead as their reason for not opposing the wicked- 
ness of slavery, that they could not accept the doc- 
trine of its being a sin per se ? 



As if that were a talisman to protect you from 
God's judgment ! You, who resort to such apologies 
to shield you, and hide yourselves from your duty 
and your country in the hour of peril, the hour that 
demands an outspoken boldness, are like the bewild- 
ered prophet fleeing to Tarshish from the presence 
of the Lord. The mighty tempest is now about you, 
but you are all Jonahs sleeping in the sides of the 
ship, as if a snug berth could keep you from ever 
knowing what a storm is raging. But by-and-by, in 
bare self-defense, the very shipmen will haul you out, 
and throw you overboard, as the only means of quiet- 
ing the tempest. And God perhaps will teach us, 
out of our own misery, how to pray for the inslaved, 
and by our own anguish will open our mouths for the 
dumb under oppression, if we refuse to do it in our 



Compound interest is a terrible thing. A man 
shall steal five dollars from his neighbor, or take a 
piece of property from him by fraud worth a hun- 
dred, and in a course of years shall make what he 
thinks an honest fortune, having possibly forgotten 
the wrong done to his poor neighbor. But at length 
the fraud is proved, and what was a hundred dollars 
at the outset shall take his whole fortune to redeem. 
Compound interest runs with money; and do you 
suppose it can be separated from crime? It holds 
on, it runs on, and a man's mischief shall return 
upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come 
down upon his own pate. It makes no difference by 
what gentle name he baptizes his robbery or cruelty, 
nor by what specious apologies of law, or custom, or 
inheritance, he excuses it. God sees through all his 
sophistries. God's conscience does not wait upon 
his ; nor will God's justice be turned aside by his 
willing self-delusions, nor is God's righteousness to 
be defined, or its operation paralyzed, by his igno- 


ranee. The great accountant will not stop casting up 
the columns against him, because, when he incurred 
the items, he never considered the interest ; nor will 
the presentation of the bill for payment be prevented, 
because he has nothing to pay. 

The slave holds, under God's own hand, a note 
against you, with compound interest for the crime 
committed against his father; and when you lay 
your grasp upon his children, and take them as your 
property, the note is more than doubled against you, 
and the interest runs on. The man was stolen orig- 
inally, and now tell me, if you dare, where did the 
guilt stop? Did that theft convert two immortal 
beings, not then born, into just property? Did the 
man who bought the slave, knowing him to have 
been stolen, convert him into just property by pay- 
ing the price of blood ? When the High Priests 
gave thirty pieces of silver to Judas, did they buy a 
right of property in Christ ? Or, if the man bought 
the slave without inquiring as to the title, does that 
willful ignorance take away the ownership of a stolen 
man from the man himself, and convert him into 
property ? And when the buyer, in addition to that 
injustice, claims the man's children as his property, 
without ever even going through the pretense of 
giving one farthing for them, does that clear his 
conscience, and still further establish his claim ? 

Ah ! there is a God in heaven that looks on, and 
his justice takes account of these transactions. The 


man, by that claim of property, indorses the original 
guilt as his own, and the compound interest of crime 
waits for him. As the persecution of the prophets 
came down from age to age unavenged, but held their 
possession, their claim for retribution, not only un- 
diminished, but accumulating with every repetition 
of the sin, no quit-claim ever given, nor action of 
ejectment by delay, nor outlawry by lapse of time ; 
but when the bill came in, all the columns were 
footed up, all the righteous blood shed upon the 
earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, to the blood 
of Zacharias, to be paid by that generation, so runs 
on the guilt of slavery in a nation that sanctions and 
sustains it. The souls under the altar count up a 
vast difference in the dates of their respective bills 
of retribution, as they cry out still, How long ? But 
the oldest of them is as fresh in the justice of the 
living God as the latest. The cry loses none of its 
power, but gathers it, by age. Indeed, there is not 
a moral issue in the universe but increases by pro- 
crastination. The mournful wailing voice of Zacha- 
rias had the same earnestness and claim of vengeance 
with that of Antipas, the last martyr catalogued by 
name in the New Testament; and Polycarp's is as 
fresh as Latimer's, and Latimer's as Lovejoy's. For 
one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a 
thousand years are as one day. As long as the 
iniquity is *.ot repented of, but indorsed and re- 
peated, so long the voice of thy brother's blood 


crieth unto me from the ground. No injury is 
ever outlawed, and some injuries perpetuate them- 
selves in more than geometrical progression, having 
a side increase in ten thousand channels and direc- 
tions, in the way of moral corruption, beside the 
direct onward reduplication. 

And this is the case with slavery. Who shall take 
account of the millions of white men lost by it, de- 
frauded of their birthright in Christianity itself, by 
the debauchery of conscience and the habits of pride, 
cruelty, licentiousness, and unrighteous gain and pow- 
er fastened on them, by the antagonistic gangrening 
energy of this domestic system, as a dead corrupting 
carcase, hung round the neck of their Christianity 
itself, and made a part of it by the law of the land ? 
And who can compute the amount of infidelity 
nourished, if not produced, by such a caricature of 
Christianity thrust upon the anguished soul ? What 
horrible perversion of truth, and confusion of prin- 
ciples, to read in the Old Testament how all God's 
attributes burn as a consuming fire against every 
form of oppression, and then be called on to believe 
that the same divine revelation sanctions, as the most 
just and perfect form of domestic society, the greatest 
possible oppression under the sun ! 



To this branch of the argument, as to every other, 
belongs the fact that never in the Scriptures is the 
idea of ownership in man admitted, nor the possi- 
bility of selling man, woman, or child, as property, 
without the guilt of an enormous crime. The owner 
of a servant or slave is a phrase never known. The 
owner of a horse or an ass is spoken of, but of a man, 
never. The cases of selling men, of trading in them, 
are marked with abhorrence, as cases for God's wrath. 
In the whole history of the Hebrews there is no in- 
stance recorded of any man's selling a servant or 
child, and no trace is to be discerned of any such 
transaction. It is indeed mentioned, but mentioned 
as sin, mentioned to receive God's curse as criminal. 
" Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of 
Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punish- 
ment, because they sold the righteous for silver, and 
the poor for a pair of shoes."* And the selling of 

*Amos ii 6. 


children by the heathen is expressly marked for 
God's vengeance. 

The crime is plainly denounced as a crime, whether 
committed by any miserable, degraded, avaricious 
sinners among, the Hebrews, who well knew how 
abominable this iniquity was in the sight of God, or 
by ignorant and abandoned pagans, according to the 
custom of their own country, and permission of their 
own laws. The examination and comparison of these 
cases shows with what infinite abhorrence God must 
look upon the enormities, abominations, cruelties, im- 
purities, and diabolical practices of the slave-trade, as 
kept up by a Christian people such as we. The 
internal, domestic, horrible iniquity of slave-breeding, 
and the known and open existence of slave-marts, 
slave-traders, and slave-trading, sanctioned and main- 
tained by custom and law, are, beyond all comparison, 
worse than any thing of the kind in the land of 
Judea, that ever called down the curses of God on 
those who dared to engage in it. Yet in this Christian 
land, this indescribable and most atrocious abomina- 
tion is maintained, and as of old, when the word of 
God is directed against it, those guilty of it main- 
tain not only its legal innocence by unrighteous law, 
but its sacredness in the very sight of God, as part 
and parcel of the great missionary system. "For 
every one, from the greatest unto the least of them, 
is given to covetousness. Were they ashamed when 
they had committed abomination ? Nay, they were not 


at all ashamed, neither could they blush; therefore 
shall they fall among them that fall ; in the time of their 
visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord."* 

This searedness and stupidity of conscience is no 
excuse for crime, but rather, under the light of God's 
word, an exceeding great exasperation of it. That 
men could so torture, and blind, and petrify their 
moral sense as not to be able to blush at such abom- 
inations, just shows how completely their iniquities 
are their masters ; they are holden of the cords of 
their own sins, and love to have it so. They are like 
those condemned in Z echariah xi. 5 ; the oppressors 
of God's sheep, the destroyers of men; " whose pos- 
sessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty; 
and they that sell them say, Blessed be the Lord, for 
I am rich!" The same crimes are alleged against 
the heathen when they oppressed the captive Jews. 
" They have cast lots for my people ; and have given 
a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they 
might drink. The children also of Judah, and the 
children of Jerusalem, have ye sold unto the Gre- 
cians, that ye might remove them far from their 
border. Behold, I will sell your sons and your 
daughters, and will return you recompense upon 
your own head."f Such passages cast a powerful 
incidental light upon the wickedness of selling human 
beings as property, whether men, women, or children. 
It is plain enough how God regards it. 

* Jer. viii. 10, 12. f Joel iii. 3, 6, 7, 8. 


And this is a thing we are to bear in mind in 
turning to the New Testament, and examining the 
instructions given both to masters and servants there. 
When it is there commanded, " Masters give unto 
your servants that which is just and equal," what 
think you is the standard of equality and justice by 
which measurement is to be made ? Was it left to 
the option or judgment of the master, or even to the 
contract between master and servant? Nay, these 
very Old Testament Scriptures, these laws before us 
on this very subject, were the sole and the authorita- 
tive guide. There was no need, at any time, of 
denouncing slavery in the New Testament, for it had 
been rendered impossible by the Old Testament for 
any man to practice it, to claim property in man, and 
preserve a conscience clear from wickedness. There 
was not a creature in existence who knew the teach- 
ings of God's word in the Old Testament, who did 
not know that the claim of property in man was a 
crime in God's sight, and that no man could give to 
his servant that which was just and equal, and yet 
treat him as a chattel, or hold him as a slave. There 
was not a creature who knew God's statutes on this 
subject in the books of Moses, and God's wrath for 
the violation of them, as recorded in the histories and 
the prophets, and was capable of reasoning at all, who 
did not know that for him to take a young child, and 
claim that child as his property, because the father 
and the mother had been his slaves, was to make him- 


self a ma?i-stealer, to incarnadine his conscience with 
the stain of that crime, denounced in God's word 
with the penalty of death. There was no need to 
repeat these precepts, but to comprehend them in the 
law of love, and to turn every man's conscience in 
regard to all the duties specified by them back to 
them, under the power of the gospel, for definition 
and detail. It is as plain as the day that no man 
could submit to the authority of the Old Testament 
Scriptures, and yet maintain the iniquity of claiming 
property in man. 


no restorinq of runaway servants — the hebrews forbidden 
to restore them — the hebrew fugitive law, a law in 
behalf of the servant and not the master — demonstration 
from this law that human beings can not be property — 
Paul's epistle to Philemon in the light of this law — the 
assertion that the word of god sanctions slavery an 
impious libel. 

The consequence of these safeguards for the free- 
dom of the servant was such, that there is no such 
thing ever known, ever intimated in the history of 
the Jews, as that of any master seeking to recover a 
runaway. There are cases of men going from Dan to 
Beersheba to recover an ass or an ox that had strayed 
from its owner, but no instance of any man going 
after, or sending after, a stray servant. The first 
and only instance of a slave-hunter figuring in the 
sacred pages is that of the condemned liar, hypocrite, 
and profane swearer, Shimei, whose servants ran 
away to Achish, King of Gath ; and no wonder that 
they fled from the service of a man who threw stones 
at David, and cursed him by the wayside, if that was 
the way in which he treated his domestics at home. 
The Jewish law strictly forbade any one from ever 
returning unto his master that servant that had fled 


from his master to him. If an ox or an ass had 
strayed from its owner, any one finding the beast was 
commanded to restore it to its owner, as his property ; 
but if a man's servant had fled away, every one was 
in like manner forbidden to restore him ; demon- 
strating in the strongest manner that a servant was 
never regarded as property, and could not be treated 
as such. A man's ox belonged to him, and must be 
restored to him as his property ; but a man's servant 
did not belong to him, and could not be his property, 
and if he chose to take himself away, was not consid- 
ered as taking away any thing that belonged to his 
master, or could be claimed and taken back by him. 

It is not possible for an incidental demonstration to 
be stronger than this. If the possibility of property 
in man had been admitted, if servants had been 
regarded as slaves, and masters as owners, then the 
law of God would no more have permitted any two- 
legged property to run away from the owner, to steal 
itself from the master, than a four-legged property; a 
biped would have no more right of property in him- 
self than a quadruped ; and the law would no more 
have permitted any man to secrete, protect, and keep 
back from the owner a strayed or runaway biped in 
the shape of a man, than a strayed or runaway quad- 
ruped in the shape of an ox or an ass. 

" Ox, ass, sheep, raiment, or any manner of lost 
thing which another challengeth to be his, the thing 
shall be judged ; if stolen, thou shalt make restitution 


to the owner; if found, thou shalt bring it back to the 
owner."* But a servant is not a lost thing y not an 
article of property, and there is no such thing as an 
oivner of him recognized. " If thou meet even thine 
enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely 
bring it back to him again."f But "thou shalt not 
deliver unto his master the servant which has escaped 
from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, 
even among you, in that place which he shall choose 
in any one of thy gates where it liketh him best ; 
thou shalt not oppress him.' 7 J He is a freeman, as 
any of you, free to choose his residence, free to go and 
come as he pleases, free to stay unmolested, in what- 
ever place he may prefer, and there is no owner to 
him, no creature that has any power to interfere with 
his liberty, no law binding him as any man's prop- 
erty, but an explicit, divine law, recognizing, guard- 
ing, and establishing, beyond possibility of denial or 
interference, his sole right of property and ownership 
in himself. 

Now, I maintain that it is not possible for language 
or thought to present a stronger incidental demonstra- 
tion than this, of the impossibility of a creature of the 
human race being property. The demonstration is 
absolutely all the stronger for being incidental. It 
never entered into the mind of the sacred writer, it 
never entered into God's heart, to set forth, in a 
formal proposition, that the claim of property in man 
* Ex. xxii. 9, 10, 11. f Ex. xxiii. 4. \ Dout. xxiii. 15, 10. 


is sin, or that no man can be the owner of a man, be- 
cause, there stood the law, He that stealeth, or selleth, 
or holdeth, shall surely be put to death. Just so, 
there was no need of saying, as an abstract proposi- 
tion, that the act of murdering is sin, because the 
law said, Thou shalt do no murder ; and, The mur- 
derer shall be put to death. But when we find, side 
by side, in the catalogue of statutes defining and 
illustrating the sin of stealing, and commanding the 
restoration of stolen or lost property, with the appella- 
tion of owner bestowed on those to whom such prop- 
erty is to be .restored, a commandment, not to restore 
to his master the servant that has fled from his 
master to thee, the forbidding of such restoration, 
and the avoidance of the term owner, are intensely 

This is the thing to be borne in mind, also, in read- 
ing the Epistle of Paul to Philemon. This is the 
thing that accounts, in the first place, for his sending 
back Onesimus to Philemon at all ; which he would 
not have done, and could not conscientiously have 
done, with the statute in Deuteronomy staring him in 
the face, had he not known that he was sending him 
back to a Christian, perfectly aware of that statute, 
and acquainted with God's whole reprobation of the 
crime of oppression, and the iniquity of claiming prop- 
erty in man. And, hence he says to Philemon, 
"Whom I would have retained" would have done 
it, and could have done it, conscientiously, by the law 


of God ; but, perfectly confident in Philemon's Chris- 
tian integrity, he would not impose that detention 
upon him, and compel him by the law, but would 
give him the sweet privilege of yielding up the man 
to Paul, on gospel grounds, and willingly. And 
hence, also, he says, Thou therefore receive him, as I 
have sent him, not noiu as a servant, but above a 
servant, a brother beloved. 

Not now as a servant. It is impossible to under- 
stand this, or any part of this remarkable Epistle, 
indeed, except under the light of all these statutes 
against slavery, which we have been considering. 
But the moment you bring this phrase under the con- 
vergency, the focus, of this light, the brilliancy is 
glorious ; it is as if a diamond had burst into a blaze. 
Paul would not, and could not, have returned Onesi- 
mus at all except to a man who, as a Christian, well 
knew God's judgment against slavery ; nor to him, 
unless he had had perfect confidence in his Christian 
integrity, that he would receive him as no longer a 
servant, a slave, even if he had been one before. 
Paul would never have sent back Onesimus to any 
doctors of divinity who proclaim slavery a divine in- 
stitution, nor to any one who could have stood up and 
said, as doctors of theology since his day have done, 
We accept the system of human slavery, and con- 
scientiously abide by it. 

In the whole history, from that of Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob, down through the whole line of their de- 


scendants, not one instance is to be found of the sale 
of a man, whether as servant or slave. The only 
approximations to such a thing are treated and de- 
nounced as criminal. When they obtained servants, 
or purchased them, as the phrase was, they purchased 
their time and labor from themselves ; but if they 
attempted to sell them, it could not be done wuthout 
stealing them ; it was making articles of property out 
of them ; it was asserting, and violently assuming, own- 
ership in them ; it was man-stealing. Accordingly, 
is the transaction of the selling of Joseph, which is 
described as the crime of stealing ; and no person in 
Judea could ever have sold any human being, no 
matter by what means in his power, without the con- 
viction of doing what was forbidden of God. Man- 
selling was no more permitted than man-stealing. 

It was on the ground of the impossibility of prop- 
erty in man, that made the selling of him a crime, 
that the statute was enacted forbidding any man to 
return the escaping servant to his master. It was on 
this ground : that every servant belonged to himself 
and not to his master, and that if his master under- 
took to treat him as property, he had a perfect right 
to flee from him, and no man had any right to stop 
him, but every man w r as bound by God's own law to 
assist and defend him. This most beneficent statute 
was a key- stone for the arch of freedom which, by 
the Jewish legislation, God reared in the midst of 
universal despotism and slavery ; it formed a security 


for the observance of all the other many provisions 
in favor of those held to labor or domestic service ; it 
opened a gate of refuge for the oppressed, and oper- 
ated as a powerful restraint against the cruelty of the 
tyrannical master. There might be cruelty and 
tyranny in the land of Judea, but there was a legal 
escape from it ; the servant, if men attempted to treat 
him as a •slave, could instantly quit his master, was 
not compelled to abide in bondage, was not hunted as 
a fugitive, nay, by law, was protected from being 
so hunted, and everywhere, on his escape, found 
friends in every dwelling, and a friend and protector 
in the law. 

In this statute, and in all the others on this sub- 
ject, we see how shameful is the libel on the word 
of God, how impious, how blasphemous the charge 
against it, of sanctioning the system of slavery. 
They are, in some respects, the meanest and the 
wickedest of all human moles, who go burrowing 
among the Scriptures, and twisting and distorting its 
passages, in the hope of finding some shadow of an 
excuse for this wickedness. Their work is, as far as 
in them lies, to make infidels ; for they do what God 
denounced, with his extremest vengeance, the false 
teachers of old for doing ; they belie the word of the 
Lord, and cause men to turn from it with the feeling 
that a book that teaches iniquity can not be God's 
word. But we throw off and denounce their per- 
version, and we challenge all the world to find any- 


where so great a security for human freedom, and 
against the possibility of human slavery, or so deep 
a fountain and assurance of benevolence and justice, 
as in these laws. They constitute, beyond all com- 
parison, the most benign, protective, and generous 
system of domestic service, the kindest to the serv- 
ants, and the fairest for the masters, ever framed 
in any country or in any age. The rights of the 
servants are defined and guarantied as strictly, and 
with as much care, as those of the employers or 
masters. Human beings could not be degraded into 
slaves or chattels, or bound for involuntary service, 
or seized and worked for profit, and no wages paid. 
The defenses against these outrages, the denounce- 
ment and prohibition of them, are among the clearest 
legal and historical judgments of God against slavery. 
The system in our own country, even in the light of 
only these provisions, holds its power by laws most 
manifestly conflicting with the divine law, and stands 
indisputably under the divine reprobation. 



The great crowning statute, which secured all the 
others on this subject, was the Jubilee Statute, of 
universal personal liberty for all the inhabitants of 
the land. The Hebrews were permitted to obtain 
servants from the heathen on a contract lasting till 
the Jubilee, but at every recurrence of that time of 
release all were free, and every contract was volun- 
tary. No heathen, no creature, of any name, or 
race, or residence, could be forced into it ; it was at 
any heathen servants's option to make a contract to 
the Jubilee, or not. If, rather than make such a 
contract, he chose to return to the heathen country, 
he was at perfect liberty to go ; and if he staid in 
Judea, and could find any master to take him as a 
hired servant, and not as a servant of all work, till 
the Jubilee, there was no law against that; he was 
at liberty to hire himself out on the best terms, and 
to the best master, that he could find. So much is 


indisputable, and so much is absolutely and entirely 
inconsistent with slavery. 

And had it not been for the arbitrary translation 
of the word servant into bondman, by our English 
translators in the 25th chapter of Leviticus, where 
the Jubilee contracts with the heathen are treated 
of, no semblance of an argument could have been 
found for the existence of any kind or degree of 
involuntary servitude for them. The same word is 
used of procuring heathen servants as Hebrew, and 
in neither case, nor any case, can it mean bondman, 
but simply and only servant. In the 46th verse of 
the 25th chapter of Leviticus, the word bondman is 
inserted in our English version, where there is not 
only no such word, but nothing answering to it, in 
the original Hebrew. The service of the heathen 
was not bondage, and made no approximation to 
slavery ; and the law of heathen servitude until the 
Jubilee was simply a naturalization law of fifty years' 
probation, of those who had previously been idola- 
ters and slaves, for freedom. 

It was a contrivance to drain heathenism of its 
feculence. The heathen slaves were in no condition 
to be admitted at once to the privileges of freedom 
and of citizenship among the Hebrews. They needed 
to be under restraint, law, and service. They were 
put under such a system as made them familiar with 
all the religious privileges and observances, which 
God had bestowed and ordered; a system that ad- 


mitted them to instruction and kindness, and prepar- 
ed them to pass into integral elements of the nation. 

It was a system of emancipation and of moral 
transfiguration, going on through ages, the taking 
up of an element of foreign ignorance, depravity, 
and misery, and converting it into an element of 
native comfort, knowledge, and piety. And the 
Statute of the Jubilee, the statute of liberty to all 
the inhabitants of the land every fifty years, was the 
climax of all the beneficent statutes, by which the 
sting was extracted from slavery, the fang drawn; 
and by this statute, in conjunction with all the rest, 
the Hebrew system constituted a set of laws and 
causes to prevent the introduction of slavery and 
render it impossible, and at length to break it up, 
all over the world. The system of Hebrew Common 
Law would, by itself, have put an end to slavery 
everywhere. The Hebrew laws elevated and digni- 
fied free labor, and converted slave labor into free. 
The service of the heathen being a voluntary ap- 
prenticeship, and not involuntary servitude, it was, 
by reason of the privileges and instruction secured 
by law, a constant elevation of character, 3nd prep- 
aration for citizenship; and then, every firty years, 
the safety of complete emancipation was demon- 
strated. The Jubilee Statute can not be understood 
in any other light. But, when the vail of prejudice 
is taken away, it is especially by the tenor of the 
Hebrew laws, in regard to slavery, that the beauty 


and glory of the Hebrew legislation, its justice, 
wisdom, and beneficence, become more apparent than 
ever. We might .rest the demonstration of a divine 
inspiration of the Pentateuch in no small degree on 
the supernatural bcncvolenec and wisdom of those 

It is from the misinterpretation, misrepresentation, 
and perversion of those laws, that the advocates of 
slavery have contrived to draw some shadow of pre- 
tense for its existence and divine sanction among the 
Hebrews; although it was never slavery, but free 
voluntary service, concerning which the whole sys- 
tem of jurisprudence was established. Some men 
really have the idea that the heathen were given to 
the Hebrews for slaves, in such wise that they might, 
any time that it pleased them to make a foray, go 
forth and snatch up any men, women, and children, 
whom they chose to take, and keep them in per- 
petual bondage ! And this, notwithstanding the 
repeated statutes enacted, and staring them in the 
face, commanding the Hebrews to treat ail strang- 
ers in their land as brethren, and on no account, nor 
in any way, to oppress them. The heathen were 
strangers, and there were no strangers in the Hebrew 
country but heathen ; so, if the heathen had been 
given to the Hebrews as slaves, here w T ere two sets 
of laws right against each other, directly and vio- 
lently conflicting. Bat there never was any such 
gift, nor any such permission, nor could heathen 


servants be oppressed, nor brought into bondage Any- 
more than Hebrew servants, nor made slaves, nor 
treated as property. 

Even the term forever ( , applied to the longest pos- 
sible contract for service, is used both with reference 
to the Hebrew and the heathen. It is this fact 
which renders null and void the pretence alleged by 
some, from Leviticus xxv. 46, that the heathen were 
perpetual slaves; for, if the heathen were, then the 
Hebrews were ; precisely the same declarations being 
made in regard to the Hebrew, in the same case: 
namely, the longest contract, that he shall serve his 
master forever ; whereas, it is admitted on all hands, 
without a single denial, that the Hebrew could not be 
a slave, and, if he had made the forever-contract, 
that is, till the Jubilee, then in the Jubilee he was 
free as ever. The cases are precisely parallel, the 
form of language used is the same in the Hebrew 
original, both in Exodus xxi. 6, of the acknowledged 
freeman, and in Leviticus xxv. 46, of the pretended 
slave, but who was, just as truly as the Hebrew, a 
freeman, having made his own contract voluntarily 
with his master, till the Jubilee, and no longer. 
Then, in the Jubilee, by the great standing appoint- 
ment in the Hebrew Constitution, all the inhabit- 
ants of the land, whether of Hebrew or heathen 
origin, that had been bound for any term of service 
whatsoever, long or short, were free. 

Let us read the two passages together. The first 


is in reference to the Hebrew servant, with his wife 
and children, apprenticed to serve his master for the 
ordinary service-term of six years. At the end of 
that time, he is as free as his master. But he had 
the privilege, by law, if his situation pleased him, if 
he loved his master, and liked his service, to enter 
then into the longest engagement with the same mas- 
ter, even till the Jubilee, and his master was com- 
pelled to agree to it, and could not compel him to 
quit. The law reads as follows: "If the servant 
shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my 
children; I will not go out free; then his master 
shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring 
him unto the door, or unto the door-post ; and his 
master shall bore his ear through with an awl : and 


Now, several things are here to be considered. 
1st, It is admitted, and can not be denied, that this 
means simply till the Jubilee, when by law, he, and 
every servant in the land, was free ; -and no master, 
whatever might have been the terms of contract, 
could keep any servant one moment longer than that 

2d, The terms here used are the same as in Levit- 
icus xxv. 46, when it is said of the heathen, in refer- 
ence to a contract of the same period, they shall be 
your bondmen forever ; but in this latter place, the 
word bondmen is not in the original, but is put in by 
the translators ; and so the place should read, as in 


the first passage, they shall serve you foreve/ i or, 
ye shall serve yourselves with them forever ; mean- 
ing, just as in the first passage concerning the He- 
brews, till the Jubilee. The first passage might just 
as properly have been translated, he shall be his 
bondman forever, as the last. 

8d, The details of this law were thus minute and 
definite, equally for the sake of the servant and the 
master, to prevent fraud on either side; to render 
alike impossible oppression on the part of the master, 
and cheating on the part of the servant. If it was 
a privilege for the servant thus to secure for himself 
and his family a permanent place with a good master 
for forty or fifty years, it might also be a tax on the 
kindness of the master ; and this admirable legislation 
most effectually guarded against fraud on either side. 
The servant might die very soon after the contract- 
money had been paid to him, and in that case it 
might all be lost to the master. For it is pretty 
clear that the money was always paid down, or a 
great portion of it, in this bargain, and the servant 
had the privilege of trading with it, and making the 
most of it he could, and thus, if he chose, he might 
at any time, if successful, buy back his whole con- 
tract. But, if the money was thus to be paid before- 
hand, some idle rascally servants might possibly be 
so wicked, so imitative of the more respectable swind- 
lers on a grander scale, as to take advantage of this, 
and having received a considerable sum for the con- 


tract, then deny that they had entered into any 
agreement longer than a renewal of the ordinary six 
years' term. To guard against that, if the servant 
insisted on staying with his master till the Jubilee, 
the desire must (1st) be solemnly affirmed, and the 
contract drawn, in the presence of judges ; and (2d) 
the servant was to have his ear bored, so that if at 
any time he denied the contract, designing to cheat 
his master, there was the unobliterable proof of it. 

4th, On the other hand, these provisions were just 
as necessary for the protection of the servant ; for if 
at any time the master, on his part, designed to re- 
pudiate the contract, and turn his servant out of 
doors, there was, manifestly, the ear bored, and there 
were the judges to whom he could appeal, and the 
laws by which he could compel his master to keep 

5th, It is obvious that this contract, once entered 
into, was a contract belonging to the family ; it was 
a contract, by which, the servant's time and labor 
having been purchased for forty or fifty years, was 
due to the family for that period. It had been pur- 
chased by the master for himself and his household, 
his children ; and the servant so apprenticed would 
belong (that is, his time and service would belong) to 
the family, to the children, if the master died before 
the time of the contract expired. If, for example, 
the master entered into such a contract the seventh 
year after the Jubilee, it would be a contract for 


forty-three years to come. Now, suppose the master 
to die ten years from that time • then manifestly the 
time and service of the Hebrew servant would belong 
to the family as their inheritance ; it would belong to 
the children as their possession after their father; 
and again, if they all died within the next ten or 
twenty years, and the servant lived, then ten or 
twenty years of the unexpired service would still be- 
long to the grandchildren, as their possession ; and so 
on till the Jubilee. It Avould be an inheritance for 
the master, and his children after him, to inherit a 
possession ; inasmuch as his death, ten years after a 
contract made and paid with a servant for forty years, 
did not and could not release that servant from his 
obligation to complete the service, for which he had 
been paid, in part at least, beforehand. 

Let us now read, along with this, the passage in 
Leviticus xxv. 46, relating to the heathen servants, 
or servants coming from the heathen nations into 
Judea for employment, and engaged under the same 
Jubilee-contract, the forever-contract, as in the pre- 
ceding instance of the Hebrew servant so engaged. 
It reads thus : " Ye shall take them as an inheritance 
for your children after you, to inherit a possession ; 
ye shall serve yourselves with them forever." As we 
have said, the phraseology is almost exactly the same 
in the last clause, defining the extent of the contract 
with the heathen servant, as in the clause in Exodus 
xxi. 6, which defined the extent of the contract with 
the Hebrew servant ; the word forever being used in 


botfi cases, and used with the same meaning, that is, of 
a contract extending till the Jubilee. The word bond- 
man or bondmen is not used in either passage, though 
our translators have chosen to put it in the text, in the 
passage applying to the heathen, but without the least 
authority or reason for so doing. Instead of saying, 
they shall be your bondmen forever ', the passage 
simply says, just as concerning the Hebrew servant in 
Exodus, they shall serve yon forever ; that is, they 
shall be your servants for the longest period admitted 
by your laws for any service or any contract, even till 
the Jubilee. And as engaged by such contract, and 
paid on such terms, ye do take them, and may take 
them, as an inheritance for your children after you, 
for any part of the term of service unexpired, when 
you, the head of the family, are taken away from 
your household. Then, these servants, by you en- 
gaged and paid for an apprenticeship till the Jubilee, 
shall be for your children to inherit as a possession, 
the possession of their time and service, which, by 
your contract with them, as rightfully belongs to 
your children as to you, until the stipulated period 
come to an end. That is the Jubilee-contract, the 
forever-contract. The passage in Exodus xxi. 6, is 
absolute demonstration in regard to this matter. 

And thus are all the refuges of lies swept away, by 
which the advocates of slavery, asserting that the 
heathen were slaves to the Hebrews, or could be held 
as such, endeavor to make men believe that slavery 
is sanctioned by the law of God. 






Now taking the 44th and 45th verses of the same 
chapter in Leviticus in the original, the meaning is 
perfectly plain, according to the law of Jubilee, with 
reference to which they were written. It is the long 
contract, the Jubilee-contract, called, with reference 
to the Hebrew servant, forever, which is under con- 
sideration in these verses, as in Ex. xxi. 6 ; under 
which contract, namely, the servants taken from 
among the heathen were to be engaged, and were 
to be for a possession according to the engagement, up 
to the time of Jubilee, voluntarily assumed by both 
parties. No Hebrew could compel any heathen to 
serve him ; no Hebrew could buy any heathen serv- 
ant of a third party, as an article of property. No 
such buying or selling was ever permitted, but every 
contract was to be made with the servant himself. 
The 44th verse reads thus : " Both thy men-servants 
and thy maid-servants, which shall be to you of the 


heathen that are round about you, of them shall ye 
buy the man-servant and the maid-servant;" that is, 
of the men-servants and maid-servants themselves that 
have come into your land, of them, shall ye procure, 
shall ye obtain, your man-servant and your maid- 
servant, on the Jubilee- contract. 

And the 45th verse reads thus : " Moreover, of the 
children (descendants) of the strangers that do so- 
journ among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their 
families that are with you, which they begat in your 
land ; and they shall be to you for a possession." Of 
the children of the strangers shall ye buy ; that is, 
ye shall take the children (the descendants) them- 
selves, as many as are willing to enter your service 
on this contract, not from a third party, but from 
themselves, by their own free choice, and from their 
families, begotten among you ; and those so taken, so 
engaged, shall, as to their time and service for the 
period for which they engage themselves, belong to 
you, be to you for a possession, a fixture of service, 
up to the period of Jubilee. 

The English word buy conveys, of necessity, to an 
English reader, the idea of traffic and of property ; 
but such was not the idea attached to the word in the 
original, which is the same word used of marrying a 
wife, as when Rosea bought his wife;^ and Jacob 
bought Rachel and Leah his wives, and paid for 
them seven years' work each to Laban.f Just so, 
* Hosea iii. 2. f Gen. xxix. 16-23. 


Boaz bought Ruth.* And just so God is said to 
have bought his people. f And in Exodus xxi. 2, 
If thou buy a Hebrew servant, we have the exact 
usage, in reference to a free contract of free service 
for six years. And corresponding with this, we have 
in Jeremiah the expression " every man his brother a 
Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee," in the 
original, which hath sold himself ;% that is, engaged 
as a servant in contract for six years. 

Just so, in Lev. xxv. 47, after considering the 
cases of heathen servants engaged till the Jubilee, 
there follows the consideration of Hebrew servants 
engaged to the stranger till the same period, and the 
case is, if he, the Hebrew, sell himself to the stran- 
ger, or to the stock of the stranger's family. But 
in the 51st verse this Hebrew servant is said to have 
been bought for money, which money was paid to 
himself, and the contract a perfectly free and volun- 
tary contract. So in the 39th verse, If thy brother 
be sold unto thee, that is, in the original, sell him- 
self; the same free contract. And the expression, 
the stock of the stranger' s family ', is just precisely a 
paraphrase or explanation of the expression in regard 
to heathen servants taken for an inheritance for you 
and your children after you ; that is, heathen serv- 
ants who have sold themselves to the stock of your 
family, engaged themselves by contract, for which 
you have paid the money to them, to serve you and 

* Ruth iv. 10. f Deut. xxxii. 6. J Jew xxxiv. 14. 


your children till the Jubilee, thus constituting a 
fixture, a possession, as to time and service paid for, 
in the family stock. This was done by Hebrews 
themselves, who nevertheless were perfectly free, 
and in no sense slaves ; it was done in exactly the 
same way by the heathen, on a contract exactly as 
free, and they were nevertheless in no sense slaves. 

It is from the misinterpretation of the words buy 
and sell, that much of the perversion of Scripture on 
this subject has originated and been maintained. A 
fair examination clears away all the sophistry, and 
leaves the case as plain and open as the daylight. 
There is no such thing as property in man 
permitted or sanctioned in the scriptures. 





In the fifth place, the recorded judgments of God 
for the attempt to hold and use servants as property, 
are another demonstration of slavery as sin. The 
great foremost instance is the one recorded in the 
34th chapter of the prophecies of Jeremiah. It was 
the last crowning and exasperating crime of the 
nation, this attempt to establish slavery, in per- 
petuating the servitude of their servants, at the will 
and pleasure of the masters, who, by such usurpation 
and oppression, claimed and treated them as property. 
They had been guilty of oppression in many ways 
before, and in this way at intervals, but now they made 
it a national act and establishment, and it was a fun- 
damental violation both of the letter and spirit of the 
constitution and of God's law. The princes of the 
nation and the lords of the capital, the holy city, 
Jerusalem, and the priests, and all the people, con- 
spired and combined in this iniquity together ; and if 
God had let their existence as a nation be prolonged, 


they would thenceforward have had slavery instead 
of freedom, as its ruling fundamental law. But the 
wrath of God came down so instantaneously, that 
they hardly had leisure to begin the working of the 
system. And nothing can prove more clearly God's 
abhorrence of it ; for, as a thunderbolt from heaven, 
the fierce anger of the Lord transfixed the nation. 
The sword, pestilence, and famine, captivity, fire, and 
desolation, consumed the people, and destroyed the 
cities of the land. There is no possibility of mis- 
taking this record. u The people of the land have 
used oppression and exercised robbery, and have 
vexed the poor and needy ; yea, they have oppressed 
the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man 
among them that should make up the hedge, and 
stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should 
not destroy it ; but I found none. Therefore have I 
poured out mine indignation upon them ; I have con- 
sumed them with the fire of my wrath ; their own 
way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the 
Lord God." This passage, and the whole 22d chap- 
ter of Ezekiel from which it is taken, were the testi- 
mony of God by his prophet in Chaldea against the 
very same wickedness, on account of which God had 
declared, by Jeremiah, that the whole nation should 
be swept from the land. 

For every other iniquity forgiveness had been 
offered, and space granted for repentance ; but there 
was none for this. God had endured the idolatry of 


the people, for that was not an iniquity established 
and defended as an organic sin, nor had the attempt 
been made to subvert the constitution given to them 
from God ; and while many were guilty of idolatrous 
abominations, there were also many who resisted and 
abhorred them. But this attempted establishment of 
slavery was a glaring national trampling upon human- 
ity and justice, and defiance of God, in which all 
classes were combined. Strenuous for rites, but not 
for righteousness, for sacrifice toward God, but not 
for mercy nor common honesty toward man, they 
would kill an ox for worship, and steal their neigh- 
bor's wages, and slay his freedom in the same breath. 
They " trusted in oppression and perversion, and 
stayed themselves thereon ; ?? and these are crimes, the 
lurid light of which burns in the pages of the prophets 
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and others, in such a man- 
ner, that we see how the nation went into the estab- 
lishment of slavery against the reiterated and long- 
continued warnings and denunciations of God's mes- 
sengers in every faithful free pulpit all over the land. 
And slavery being the subversion of the constitution, 
to make it an engine of oppressing and crushing the 
free servants in the land, instead of protecting and 
blessing them, the moment they attempted to shield 
and establish this sin under the guardianship of the 
constitution and the laws, making themselves a nation 
of men-stealers, the extremest wrath of God came 
down upon them. 


The sixth branch of this argument is the providen- 
tial demonstration in the manifestation of God's curse 
upon the system, by its practical workings among 
men, and the ruin of states and empires under its in- 
fluence. Its path has gone over the earth in an 
infinite train of iniquities and miseries, sins of oppres- 
sion and cruelty, licentiousness and avarice, suggested 
and produced by its temptations and its gifts of op- 
portunity and power, and finally concentrated in its 
essence ; the corruptions of manners and morals, the 
decay of commerce, arts, manufactures, learning, and 
literature, the destruction of industry and intellect, 
the blasting and emasculation of the earth itself under 
its curse and blight. 

Then there is the effect upon the moral sentiments 
and feelings, the habits of immoral reasoning induced, 
the monstrous sophistry admitted and maintained, and 
the consequent insensibility of the conscience, and 
blinding and darkening of the understanding ; a thing 
predicted in the prophets for those who would not be 
guided in their policy by the word of God, but trusted 
in oppression, and in the lying that was necessary to 
sustain it, and fulfilled in the judicial blindness of the 
Jews ; and again declared in the New Testament, as 
the consequence of rejecting God's testimony against 
our own sins, and changing the truth of God into a 
lie. God himself giving such over to a reprobate mind, 
and to the all-deceivableness of unrighteousness in 
them that perish. For this cause God shall send 


them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, 
since they would not believe the truth, but had pleas- 
ure in unrighteousness. Just so in that psalm so 
vividly descriptive of the character of unjust judges, 
and of the effect of habits of injustice in putting out 
the eyesight of the mind. They know not, neither 
will they understand ; they walk on in darkness, all 
the foundations of the earth are out of course. 

The most abandoned principles are openly main- 
tained ; the most ancient and revered landmarks are 
swept away, the most sacred compacts disregarded ; 
the institutions of mankind, the wisdom of history, 
and the nature of eternal justice, alike perverted and 
defied. The doing of evil that good may come is just- 
ified and applauded; a selfish expediency is pro- 
claimed as the right rule of the exercise of state 
power ; all the theories of moral sentiment grounded 
in the word of God are overthrown, and a system of 
public and domestic moral principles adopted, that 
would have disgraced the darkest ages of mankind. 
Among all the monstrosities of idol superstitions, the 
fanaticisms of infanticide and Moloch-sacrifices, in the 
darkness of heathenism, without the light of the 
Bible, none were ever so bad as the deliberate main- 
tenance of such doctrines as are now maintained in 
such light. That slavery is better than freedom, 
and more accordant with God's intention in regard to 
human society, that the degradation and inslavement 
of one race is necessary for the higher refinement and 


happiness of another ; that the African race are sep- 
arate from humanity, and only a footstool for it, by 
standing on which the Anglo-Saxon race can reach a 
higher stature, nearer to the gods ; that society itself 
ought to be nothing but the two extremes of unques- 
tioning, unappealing, inevitable servitude, and un- 
questioned, despotic power; that the perfection of 
domestic, and even of religious life, is in such a sta/te. 
We are reminded by such doctrines of the horrid 
manufacture of the music in the pope's choir, where 
the mutilation of children is said to give a tone of 
plaintiveness and pathos to the melody, so exquisite 
as to be unattainable in any other way. We are 
taught in one and the same breath that God appointed 
slavery as a providential good for the slaves them- 
selves, and at the same time, that they are to be per- 
petual bondmen, chattels, bought and sold, in order 
to make us, by contrast, nobler, prouder freemen; 
and that, in fine, the institution is itself a whetstone 
for the sharpening and polishing of our own human- 
ity. It certainly does sharpen. 

We are told that for such an acute, haughty, and 
finely-toned order of humanity, labor is disgraceful, 
and that it should be put upon slaves only, to make 
white men the more ashamed of it. We are taught 
that industry and submission are the properties of 
slaves, indolence and command the marks of a gentle- 
man; and that to labor, working with our hands, 
instead of being the feature and the praise of an 


elevating Christianity, is the badge of degradation. 
Our virtues are turned into vices, and our vices into 
virtues, by this system. Humanity is put to shame, 
is set in the stocks, is crucified, because it is a slave's 
deportment; haughtiness, resolute cruelty, arrogance 
to those beneath, are virtues in the master, and there 
must be a race always beneath to accustom the supe- 
rior race to such a bearing. Intense and unmitigated 
selfishness, pride, revenge, ferocity, hardness of heart, 
and griping, close-fisted extortion, along with the 
seemingly opposite qualities of lavish profusion and 
waste, were not merely wrought into fixtures of 
character among the Roman slaveholders, but they 
are fruits of the same system now. Thomas Jeffer- 
son's graphic and powerful picture of these things 
will last as long as the English language, together 
with his well-known declaration, that in case of a 
slave insurrection, Almighty God has no attribute 
which could take part with the master against the 

Indeed the demoralizing effect of this system in 
making labor disgraceful, where God has made it 
honorable, and in taking from it its right to a place 
of nobleness and respect in human society, is worse 
than its influence in defrauding independent laborers 
of their just adequate recompense. I have a most 
marked illustration, which I know to be authentic. 
A man on Staten Island, a carpenter, who as master 
workman had become successful by industry, honesty, 


and intelligence in the pursuit of his business, learn- 
ing that there was great demand for his work at 
Charleston in South Carolina, and thinking he might 
more rapidly acquire a competency there, closed up 
his business here, and went south for that purpose. 
He had hardly got established, when a lady sent for 
him to make a contract with him for repairing and in 
effect rebuilding some part of her establishment. She 
desired him to make a computation of the cost, and to 
let her know the lowest price at which he would un- 
dertake the business. The bill somewhat exceeded 
her expectations. She reflected awhile, and at length 
told our honest friend that on the whole she con- 
cluded not to engage him. The work would take two 
or three months, and on the whole she could do better 
to buy a carpenter , and sell him again in the spring ! 
The man left the house, went to his shop, packed up 
his tools, closed up his half established business, and 
took passage in the first ship he could find for New 
York, declaring that a country where housekeepers 
could buy their carpenters, and sell them again in the 
spring, was no place for him or free labor to live in. 
And where, in the whole extent of our territorial 
empire, let slavery once be established in the length 
and breadth of it, can free and honorable labor find a 
breathing place? Where will it ever be able to com- 
mand its rights of existence, or its just reward? 




Such now is the vast and mighty evidence in re- 
gard to this system, in the word, and in the provi- 
dential judgments of Almighty God upon it. and in 
its fruits in the misery of man. The intuitions of all 
mankind go with this evidence ; the moral sense of 
human nature itself pronounces the system of slavery 
to be, in its essence, oppression, injustice, and sin. 
God's own testimony as to the sinfulness of slavery is 
as clear as his condemnation of idolatry itself; and 
then, as to the proof of its injustice and inhumanity 
to man, in the very nature of the case this is more 
manifest still, because human beings are the subjects 
of it. On the whole, there is nothing that has a more 
united and concentrated verdict in regard to its wick- 
edness, from within and without, from feeling, from 
conscience, from experience, from the recorded opinion 
and testimony of men, from the study of history, the 
fate of empires, and the word of God. The reverber- 
ating roar in every part of the word of God in regard 


to the sin of oppression is as the sound of many 
waters ; and the ground- wave of conviction from the 
depths of the consciousness of all mankind, amidst the 
groans of humanity, generation after generation, rolls 
up the judgment that personal slavery is the culmi- 
nation of this sin. The feeling of our common human- 
ity has found a common expression, and the litera- 
ture of all nations is as a shrine of many-forked 
lightnings against it. The logic of common law, of 
common honesty, of common charity, must all be set 
at defiance in denying its sinfulness. Millions on 
millions of beating hearts assert, that for themselves, 

'Tis liberty alone that gives the flower 
Of fleeting life its luster and perfume, 
And we are iveeds without it ; 

and if they can turn from such sentiments, and with 
eyes moistened with the tears springing from the 
poetic sensibility of a Christian patriotism, can vote 
to make their fellow-creatures such weeds, by fasten- 
ing the chains of a perpetual slavery upon them, how 
will they stand before God, face to face with the 
victims of such hypocrisy and cruelty ? The proud 
boasts of liberty for themselves, the care with which 
they guard their own personal freedom, shows what 
they consider the dearest birthright of their human- 
ity ; and, therefore, by the common law of love, what 
they know to be due to the humanity of others ; and 
if they defraud them of it, their own natural emotions 
will witness against them at the last day. The dem- 


onstrations as to profit, also, and the proofs of what 
men's true interests require, are equally clear, and 
must equally be defied, in the maintenance of this in- 
iquity. John Wesley did truly declare that it is the 
sum of all villainies, and others in our land have testi- 
fied that there is no sin in the decalogue but slavery 
is the parent of it. 

Now it is this iniquity that a large portion of the 
community defend. At the South it is entailed ; but 
each generation consents to the entailment. It would 
be easy for any State Legislature, nay for all, if the 
people would consent, to put a stop to the evil. If 
they would but take example from the law of jubilee, 
and bring in a bill that at the end of fifty years every 
child born in the State should be born free, the evil 
would, in that period, without difficulty work itself 
away. But instead of staying it where it is, they pro- 
pose its universal extension. There is territory 
enough to carve out twenty-nine new States in the 
region proposed to be set open to the freedom of 
slavery. There are no geographical barriers to the 
existence and the lust of power ; it overrides every 
thing ; there is no climate on earth unfavorable to it. 
Freedom is a flower that you must cherish; but 
slavery is a weed, as Burke once truly said, that you 
may have anywhere, only scatter the seed. The 
question before us is as to the deliberate national ex- 
tension of this system. My argument does not run 
backward, but was constructed simply to illustrate, by 


a survey of the cogency and clearness of the demon- 
stration that slavery is sin, the solemnity of the re- 
sponsibility laid on us at this juncture in voting in 
regard to it. God has brought us, at length, by a 
wonderful combination of circumstances, to this, as 
the one absorbing issue before us as a nation, Will we 
choose slavery or freedom? Will we sanction and 
extend that which God abhors, or will we choose that 
which he commands ? In the history of the whole 
world, no nation was ever brought face to face with 
God, to answer such a question, as ours is at this day. 
It is a position, the solemnity and importance of 
which arrest the gaze of the nations. And the re- 
sponsibility is individual. God has concentrated the 
whole issue, at length, after a whole age of thrusting 
and parrying, and fending off, on the primal election, 
which combines the opinions, choices, wills, of all ou* 
teeming population in the same act. There is no 
diversion of the responsibility in other ways, or on 
more than one principle, one line of policy, which is 
brought to every man's own door to decide upon, to 
every man's own bosom for his judgment, to every 
man's own conscience for approval or rejection. The 
choice of every man, we had almost said of every 
man, woman, and child, is concentrated in this decis- 
ion with a directness of opinion, will, and responsi- 
bility, such as never accompanied any other elective 
act of the people, in such sovereignty of determination 
as no other nation under heaven ever exercised. 


On this account it is indisputably the province of 
the pulpit to proclaim at this time the judgment of 
God for the guidance of the people, in this, their 
religious responsibility ; and all plausibility and 
power are taken away from the accustomed allegation 
with which every mention of the sin of slavery has 
been met, when it has been referred to, namely, that 
we, the people of this congregation, or any other con- 
gregation in a free State, have nothing to do with it 
We now have every thing to do with it, and are our- 
selves to determine in regard to it. The question as 
to the sinfulness of slavery and its extension, is as 
direct, practical, and personal for us, as of stealing, 
lying, adultery, intemperance, or infidelity. If a 
bill for licensing polygamy were before our own State 
Legislature, there would be no more obligation to turn 
the light of God's word upon that iniquity, than 
there is now to examine the iniquity of the extension 
of slavery in the same light. It is no more a politi- 
cal thing to preach concerning slavery, than it is con- 
cerning dishonesty in business, or repentance toward 
God. On the principles laid down in the 33d chap- 
ter of Ezekiel, of which no man ever dreamed of 
denying the application directly to every preacher 
of the word of God, no minister of the gospel can 
do his duty, and avoid speaking in such a case. "If 
the people of the land take a man of their coasts, 
and set him as a watchman, if the watchman see the 
sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people 


be not warned, if the sword come, and take any per- 
son from among them, he is taken away in his in- 
iquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman's 
hand. So thou, son of man, I have set thee a 
watchman unto the people ; therefore thou shalt hear 
the word at my hand, and warn them from me. If 
thou dost not warn them, then the wicked shall die 
in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thy 
hand." This applies to whatever moral evil or sin 
any people are in danger of committing. No sword, 
no pestilence, no external misery or distress, is ever 
to be compared with the "sword of a deliberate in- 
iquity, cutting the people to their vitals, or the habit 
:>f iniquity, chosen as their State and domestic policy. 



The question now before us is just this, and no 
other, Shall slavery, henceforward, be the chosen 
policy of our nation ? Shall it be extended over 
new territory, comprehending an area for the habita- 
tion of man, and the formation of human societies, 
larger than all civilized Europe ? Shall every thing 
be made to bend to its advancement, and no freedom 
of speech, or even of opinion, be tolerated, that does 
not swear fealty to it ? Shall the whole power of 
our government be enlisted and applied in its sup- 
port ? Shall the United States army force it upon 
freemen, at the point of the bayonet, with rights that 
had been secured by the Constitution struck down as 
treason, and the freedom of thought itself forbidden 
by atrocious law ? To this it must come, and this is 
the essential despotism brought upon ourselves, if we, 
as a nation, deliberately fasten the law of slavery on 
our free Territories. 


Shall we plainly choose, as our guiding and ruling 
policy, a system of injustice and cruelty that God 
abhors, and that all the nations of the civilized world 
in turn have abolished and cast out as the scourge of 
a prosperous, and the opprobium of a virtuous, soci- 
ety ? Shall this condemned and abandoned policy be 
set in new States and Territories, as their normal form, 
their jurisprudence, the Shechinah of the genius of 
the country ? Shall that which is as plainly forbid- 
den of God as idolatry itself be selected by this nation 
and government, stamped with the people's approba- 
tion, and inaugurated as the fundamental, determin- 
ing, administrative act and prudence of public and 
private life, the object of our worship, the North 
Star of our being, the standard of our morals, the 
law of domestic society, and the rule of State ? 

To this extent its pretensions and demands have 
come. It has happened, in the providence of God, 
which has permitted the experiment to go that length, 
before throwing the question of its sanction or rejec- 
tion solemnly on the whole nation's choice, that the 
preparation for this crime of the extension of slavery 
has been begun in open violence, in a daring, yet 
acknowledged usurpation, establishing the throne of 
iniquity, in the method of framing mischief by a law. 
The annals of history can not show a greater wicked- 
ness. The statutes of the house of Omri in Israel, for 
the iniquity of obeying which, the whole people of the 

land were swept into desolation, were not more directly 



in conflict with God and his righteousness. Thr ' / ' 
ritorial legislative fraud transacted in Kansas, anr 3 the 
execrable laws under it, enforced by the United States 
army, at the command of the executive, at the same 
time that the House of Representatives has declared 
that very Legislature, and those very laws, to be un- 
constitutional, infamous, unrighteous, and therefore 
null and void, constitute the grossest usurpation, all 
things considered, ever perpetrated ; because our 
light, our privileges, our position in the world and its 
ages, our Constitution, our Declaration of Independ- 
ence, our theory and practice of liberty for ourselves, 
our knowledge of the word of God, our light from 
history and from the examples of all nations before 
us, and our long consideration and examination of the 
nature of public justice and righteousness, brand it 
as a foreknown and heaven-defying crime, not re- 
jected and reprobated, when committed, but sanc- 
tioned as crime ; so that the sun in heaven never 
shone upon a greater enormity, all these things con- 
sidered, than the oppressions and cruelties in Kansas. 
It is impossible to set their wickedness in an adequate 

And now, if we accept and sustain them, and carry 
out the villainy for which they were committed, we 
have sealed our own subjection, and the ruin of our 
liberties forever. I say this, because, a revolution 
from good to evil, requiring at the outset a bloody 
usurpation and civil war, can go on only by the sacri- 


fice of all principle. The two things can not live to- 
gether : a slavery, aggressive, jealous, devouring as 
the sea, that requires such abnegation of principle and 
conscience, such barbarous laws and such brutal fe- 
rocity in their execution, developing its remorseless 
despotism in them, and a freedom, whose whole soul 
of justice and humanity rises up against them ; the 
one must destroy the other. And to this it is run- 
ning on. If we accept and sustain this iniquity, our 
policy must be henceforward wholly despotic, and as 
much against the spirit and letter of our own Consti- 
tution as of the word of God. All our strength will 
be called into requisition against ourselves to subdue 
our own prejudices in favor of liberty ; and a new 
net- work of law will have to be arranged to hold the 
swelling emotions we have been accustomed to utter, 
as a lunatic in a strait-jacket. Our statutes must be 
overhauled and knotted for the submission of State 
rights, and judicial precedents and decisons favorable 
to slavery must be prepared and enforced, that there 
may be no rebellion, nor whisper of discontent. The 
silent, unbroken, unmurmuring reign of terror at 
the South will be a stormy terror at the North, but a 
reign of terror still, the worse for the uproar and re- 
sistance of conscience. The agencies of power are in 
readiness, and the needed judges are at hand, to ap- 
ply all the instrumentalities in their keeping. With 
great assurance the advocates of the slave-system look 
forward to the established and unquestioned catho- 


licity of its despotism, determined that it shall no 
longer be the creature of municipal law, or local state 
sovereignty, but of national and international right- 
eousness. Not more confidently did Philip of Spain 
load his vessels of the Armada against Protestant 
England with thumb-screws and boots for the tortures 
of the Inquisition, to be applied to freemen. And 
then, our very literature will have to be mutilated 
and re-cast, and intellectual eunuchs must be set over 
all our book-shops and libraries, with an index ex- 
purgatorius for their guide. 

I wish that it were in my power, by any language, 
to express the sacredness and solemnity of a vote in 
this crisis. If there ever was a religious responsibil- 
ity in human affairs, it is the obligation to resist this 
iniquity, when the opportunity is given of a vote 
against it. There has never been such an opportu- 
nity till now ; but now, no other issue is pretended, no 
other is talked of, no other is thought of, but the 
sanction and support, or renunciation and resistance, 
of this sin. It is idle to pretend any other question 
depending than just this, Shall slavery be extended 
and nationalized? I wish that I could portray, as 
with lightning, the unmeasured wickedness of that 
man, who will let his individual profit, or imagined 
profit, determine his vote on the side of injustice and 
oppression, in a matter on which the temporal and 
eternal condition of millions in future generations 
may depend. The baseness of any merchant or cap- 


italist is not to be fathomed, who, because the ramifi- 
cations of his southern trade require that he cast a 
benignant regard upon the system of slavery, will 
therefore vote for its extension in the land. I do not 
believe that human nature ever sank to a deeper debase- 
ment than it has in those men, who, under the light 
of Christianity, will, for the sake of an imagined 
greater security of property, establish, or vote to es- 
tablish, the curse of slavery where it has not gone. 
To set this cancer in the vitals of a new land, to in- 
oculate with this plague the heart of a new society, 
with the full knowledge of all the evils it will entail 
generation after generation, is a climax of wickedness 
a sublimity of crime, such as no nation under heaven 
before our own ever had a possibility of attaining. Di- 
vine providence has never once committed such a pos- 
sibility to mortals, and would not have done it now, 
except to a nation educated, trained, disciplined, under 
the light of the gospel, and therefore prepared to repel 
the evil, and elect the good. And now, for such a 
nation, having the power to determine the policy, the 
social and civil institutions, of another state, and in 
the words of God in Isaiah, to raise up the founda- 
tions of many generations, deliberately, after long 
dispute and discussion, to set the system of slavery at 
the heart of it, would be a crime so gigantic, a cruelty 
so infinite, that eternity alone could reveal its enor- 
mity. It is a transaction without parallel on the face 
of the earth. Nations have made slaves, have prac- 


ticed slavery, but, to compel another nation, abhor- 
ring it, into the endurance and establishment of this 
iniquity, puts a complication and intensity of malig- 
nity into the transaction, beyond the power of the 
imagination to measure and of language to describe. 
If you could take one immortal being, and set within 
the circle of his faculties, for your profit, regardless 
of his fate, a spring and machinery of incessant sin 
and misery, that would be the supernatural wicked- 
ness of a fiend ; but who can adequately illustrate or 
characterize the enormity of setting such a spring 
at the heart of a whole nation, of placing there this 
productive cause of all miseries, this fountain and 
creative agency of cruelty and crime ? 

We can almost see the great God of our fathers 
warning us for the last time ; we can almost hear the 
voice of incarnate divine compassion, Oh that thou 
hadst known, at least in this thy day, thy decisive 
visitation, the things that belong to thy peace ! But 
now they are hid from thine eyes. How often would 
I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth 
gather her brood under her wings, but ye would not. 
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate ! We 
can almost see the spirits of our fathers bending down 
over us from their bright abodes, to see what shall be 
our decision in this hour of solemn trial. Oh that 
God would in mercy guide us ! Oh that he would 
constrain us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk 
humbly with our God ! But if we will not, then 

god's word triumphant. 183 

there is a conflict before us, such as the nations never 
knew. Every step of the way we have got to grapple 
with God's word, and with conscience, and we can not 
overcome it. He has set it within us, and it is on 
God's side, and we had better have ten thousand 
devils outside opposing us, than conscience within. 
And God will still work ; his word will break forth 
like a volcano. You have even now the conscience 
of twenty millions under the light of God's word, 
against the conscience of three hundred thousand 
slaveholders drugged by self-interest and sophistry. 
The conscience of the twenty millions God will con- 
tinue to stir up. He will make his word like a fire 
in the bones, and a fire in the heart, and a fire in the 
brain, and the whole Pacific ocean could not put it 
out, nor all the mountains of profit and expediency 
keep it down. No small part of our country, thanks 
be to God, is all conscience on this subject, living 
conscience, outraged conscience, conscience burdened 
and agonized, and crying up to God. If you under- 
take to silence or to suffocate that conscience, you 
will have such convulsions, such volcanoes as the world 
never saw; and if you undertake to put down the 
volcanoes, then you will have earthquakes, and your 
institutions will roll and totter like a raging sea, as 
when God takes whole cities by their towers, and 
beats them against one another. When God and his 
justice are pledged against a nation in rebellion in 
this one sin, you can not question who will conquer. 


God has thrown down the gauntlet against this wick- 
edness, and at this late period of the world, the nation 
that dares to take it up will be blasted with the fury 
of his wrath, not less terribly than his peeled, scat- 
tered, and exterminated people of old. 



|nij)iiit,u of tlje Cttmsion of Slater^. 

OCTOBER 80, 185C. 




We are grateful for the opportunity to address an 
assembly of our fellow-citizens in regard to the crime 

* This address, and on the same evening an address on the same 
subject by Rev. Joseph P. Thompson, D.D., were delivered to an 
immense assemblage of citizens at the suggestion and request of a 
number of gentlemen, as detailed in the following correspondence . 

. New York, October 27, 1856. 
Rev. George B. Ciieever, D.D., Rev. Joseph P. Thompson, D.D. 
Sirs : The undersigned, being desirous that the moral and re- 
ligious aspects of the question of the extension of slavery in the 
United States may be presented, and the criminality of such ex- 
tension fully argued before the public, respectfully request you to 
address an audience on those topics, at the Academy of Music in 
this city, and would suggest the evening of Thursday, 30th instant, 
at f-J o'clock, as a suitable time. 

We are respectfully, etc., 

J. W. Edmonds, Wm. Curtis Notes, 

M. H. Grinnell, JosEPn Hoxie, 

Frank Tuthill, E. II. McCurdy, 

Henry J. Kaymond, S. Draper, 

H. D. Aldrich, Wm. M. Evarts, 

B. F. Butler, Thomas Denny, 

Fred. W. King, Hiram Barney, 

Dexter Fairbank, James Humphrey, 

B. F. Manniere, Edwin West, M.D., 

W. N. Blakeman, M.D., James W. Halstead, 

Lewis Hallock, M.D. Israel Minor, 

Horace Greeley, Richard F. Halstead, M.D,, 

Charles A. Dana, H. A. Richardson, 

W. C. Bryant, Wm. G. West, 

W. H. Smith, J. F. Whipple. 

George Gifford. 


of extending slavery, and especially on grounds of 
religious principle. We rejoice, because to that 
foundation the whole permanent opposition against 
slavery must come at last, and the sooner the better. 
It is better, at whatever expense, to dig deep now, 
and lay our foundation on a rock, than with careless, 
costless labor for the present, to build upon the sand, 
and by-and-by, when the waves rise, and the storm 

New York, October 28, 1856. 

To Messrs. J. W. Edmonds, M. H. Grinnell, and others : 

Sirs : The perils that threaten every social, moral, and religious 
interest of our country from the extension of slavery, demand of 
the Christion patriot, whatever of influence he can exert, in private 
or in public, to stay the progress of this gigantic evil. 

We shall be thankful if any words of ours shall contribute to 
deepen in the minds of our fellow citizens their abhorrence of this 
great iniquity, and their determination to suppress it. 

We therefore accede to your somewhat unusual request, and 
will respond to your call upon Thursday evening next. 

With sentiments of esteem, we remain, gentlemen, yours, 

GrEO. B. Cheever, 
Jos. P. Thompson. 

At the hour appointed for the meeting, William Cullen Bryant, 
Esq., was called to the chair, and introduced the speakers with 
the following appropriate remarks, which were responded to by 
the audience with great earnestness and applause. 

My Friends : I have been called to this place for the purpose 
of presenting to you two of our fellow-citizens of the clerical 
profession, who have consented this evening to address you on 
topics of the highest public importance. They are men who do 
not hold themselves absolved by their profession from any of the 
obligations which belong to the members of our great political 
system. [Applause.] They do not hold that they have fulfilled 
their duty to God until they have performed their duty to their 
country. [Applause.] I honor the noble zeal which brings them 


rages, see our structure dashed upon the billows, and 
if we ourselves are spared, spared only for the confu- 
sion of digging over again, at a thousand-fold cost, 
our former work, to get below the sands, and in con- 
tact with primeval granite. Let us go down to the 
granite now, and we shall have nothing to do after- 
ward, but just build on securely toward heaven. 
In the conflict against slavery, conscience and the 

forth to give the benefit of their eloquence to the cause of justice 
and humanity, and I am sure, fellow-citizens, you honor them for 
it, too, or you would not be here this evening. My friends, the 
cause which brings us hither to-night is the cause of the many — 
the cause of the people. The battle we fight is the battle for the 

a of the many against the interests of the few — a battle for 
the people against an oligarchy. In the records of the ancient 
Hebrew race, we read that wncn the Israelites had passed the 
Red Sea, they were attacked by the Amalekites, and when Moses, 
the great civil chief and leader of that race, beheld from the sum- 
mit of the mount the conflict, he lifted up in his hands the rod 

• which the waters of the Red Sea had parted. As long as 
his hands were raised, the people of Israel, we are told, prevailed 
against the Amalekites, but when his hands were lowered, the 
Amalekites drove before them the children of Israel. As the 
hands of the Hebrew chief grew weary, Aaron, the High Priest 
of the living God, came from his sacred function to snpport him 
on the one side, and Hur supported his hands on the other side 
until the going down of the sun; and the Amalekites, we are 
told, were smitten with the edge of the sword, discomfited and 
scattered, and their race was blotted out from under heaven. My 
friends, let us accept this omen. So may it be in the cause in 
which we are engaged, and so may the enemies of justice and 
humanity be discomfited, confounded, and overcome. [Applause.] 
So may these servants of the altar, who come forward to-night to 
support our hands, strengthen our hearts by their words until the 
going down of the sun, and the victory be complete. I take great 
pleasure in presenting to you the Rev. Dr. Cheever of this city who 
will now address you. 


word of God are with us; yet we may not delude 
ourselves with the hope of an easy victory, since the 
battle is but begun ; though with us it is half the 
victory to have a battle in earnest, and a battle on 
principle. The enemies of freedom have always been 
afraid of that, afraid to look principle in the face, and 
have trembled whenever, casting their eye over the 
hosts marshaling on one side and the other, they have 
seen anywhere a brave flag floating to the breeze, 
with eternal righteousness inscribed upon it, and 
the joyful rallying cry, In this we conquer ! We 
have come at last to an issue upon principle, this 

In the course of the* address by Rev. Dr. Thompson he paid a 
very eloquent and beautiful tribute to the genius and character of 
Mr. Bryant, which we quote as follows from the report of the 
meeting. He had been speaking of the extension of slavery and 
its dreadful consequences. "Where then," said he, "are your 
missions, and schools, and churches ? With slavery in Kansas, in 
Oregon, and with Utah and Nicaragua to boot, we have next an 
actual majority of slaveholders in the government at Washington — 
and then who can speak for you there, though he bristle all over 
with bowie-knives and revolvers ; then your port becomes a mart 
of slavers ; and the ' right of transit' for slave property will be 
asserted here, against your own State sovereignty, by an armed 
police of the Federal Government. Are you ready for that ? 

11 Their lives a poet who yet leads the choir of American litera- 
ture ; a poet who has opened the fount of Helicon and brought 
forth its sweetest music, amid the din of commerce in this modern 
Babel ; a poet who [turning to Mr. Bryant] does not deem that his 
sweet and lofty communings with the Muses have ' absolved him 
from any duty to his country.' [Immense enthusiasm, and three 
cheers for Mr. Bryant.] 

" Years ago that poet traversed the unpeopled prairie, broken as 
yet only by the tramp of the buffalo and the swift foot of the hunter. 
Musing awhile upon the interminable wilderness, his ear caught 


issue, slavery or freedom, the very issue which it has 
been the effort of the enemies of freedom to fight off; 
for any thing under heaven would be more acceptable 
to them than that ; tariffs, naturalization laws, import 
or export taxes, foreign diplomacy, national quarrels, 
even a war with England, any thing, every thing, they 
would rather battle about, and occupy the mind of 
the whole nation, than freedom and slavery, and the 
difference and choice between them. But now it has 
come not only to the difference, but the choice. 
After fending off and parrying, this way and the 
other, to keep out this issue, to keep down even the 

the murmuring of the adventurous bee; and his soul kindling 
with prophetic hope, he sang, 

"'I listen long 

To his domestic hum ; and think I hear 

The sound of that advancing multitude 

Which soon shall fill these deserts. From the ground 

Comes up the laugh of children, the soft voice 

Of maidens, and the sweet and solemn hymn 

Of Sabbath worshipers. The low of herds 

Blends with the rustling of the heavy grain 

Over the dark-brown furrows. 1 

"That picture, which so touches the heart of the Christian 
patriot, is a picture of freedom ; the home of free men, the homes 
of Christian families; the dignity of labor: the freedom of knowl- 
edge ; the inviolable sanctity of worship ; the peace and smile of 
God. Shall we llot out that picture ? Over all these prairies shall 
we see the blight of slavery ? Shall we hear the clank of chains, 
the curse of the oppressor, the lash of the overseer, the sighing of 
the needy, as they toil without hope, and sink into forgotten 
graves ? Will you who have given your thousands to evangelize the 
West see all your gifts and labors swallowed up in the black abyss 
of slavery ? [Cries of No ; no ; God forbid.] No, sir, no ; that 
vision of yours was not the mere dream of the prophet ; it was 
a prophecy inspired of God ; and my children shall yet read your 
prophecy fulfilled upon those teeming prairies." 


agitation of it, at length we are brought plump and 
full upon it, so that neither man, woman, nor child 
can mistake it. This, then, is the issue, an issue of 
eternal principle, and this is one point on which we 
desire to address you, namely, that righteousness is 
higher than policy, and must be the foundation of our 
policy, if we are ever to have rest. 

Righteousness must be the foundation of law, or 
law itself is but wickedness bolted, principled, consol- 
idated, and worse than chaos. An arch of wicked 
principles, keyed with the key-stone of law, is some- 
thing substantial, something reliable ; it has a dread- 
ful impregnability, durability, and power. It is order 
in wickedness, and wickedness in order. Every one 
of the materials of this wickedness, scattered in the 
wildest anarchy, and riding through the air in huge 
uproar, would be mindless and powerless for evil in 
the comparison. Anarchy is a thousand times prefer- 
able to wicked law. Anarchy is the chaos described 
by Milton, which, until it was bridged, only the devil 
dared attempt, or could cross; but when the mate- 
rials were shoaled and surged into a solid consistency, 
and law and order reigned in solid arches, then there 
was a way, smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to hell. 

The nations do not live by law, but righteousness. 
Not by bread alone, but by every word that proceed- 
eth out of the mouth of God doth man live. Not law 
but righteousness, must be the rule ; and if men per- 
vert that, if rulers turn traitors to it. and undertake 


to lead the people down to ruin by unrighteous law, or 
by perversion of righteous law into unrighteousness, 
then the people must revert to the original elements 
and covenant of power, and take the thing into their 
own hands, as they did when they struck off the head 
cf Charles the First, and as they did in California, 
when the fundamental law of the republic had been 
violated by those in power. 

Now there has been a deliberate and monstrous 
treason of this kind transacted in our government, not 
by a clique, not in a corner, not on a side issue, but 
in an endeavor to subvert the fundamental laws of 
the commonwealth ; a treason, the greatest that can 
possibly be committed, because committed against the 
whole people, in a way in which the insanity of 
Nero's mad malignity is realized, in getting the neck 
of the people at one knot in the noose, and under 
foot : a treason that cuts the jugular vein, and lets 
out the life blood, and, if successful, would leave 
nothing but a trampled carcass, like the worn-out 
corpses of European despotisms. It is the treason 
under the Constitution, of applying the power con- 
ferred by the Constitution, to enforce laws contrary 
to the Constitution ; to sustain and enforce a legisla- 
tive usurpation, a legislature whose members were 
constituted by violence and fraud, in transgression of 
the fundamental law that underlies all our liberties, 
the law of republican representation by a free and 
pure election. It is a treason that only some one 



co-ordinate branch of our own government could 
commit, for no private individual could accomplish it, 
nor could the government itself, or a party in the 
government, except by complicity and instrumentality 
of the executive as its tool. Our national executive 
is chargeable with this dreadful treason, applying the 
power of the United States army to sustain the 
strength and enforce the dictates of a Legislature 
demonstrated to have been fraudulently and violently 
imposed upon the people, more fraudulently and vil- 
lainously than if by foreign conquest ; a Legislature 
created by villainy, fraud, and armed assault at the 

It was the duty of the executive, as the appointed 
guardian of the fundamental laws of the common- 
wealth, and provisions of the Constitution, to have 
thrown himself, with the whole power of the State, 
against that usurpation ; to have resisted and crushed 
it at once, and brought the perpetrators of so huge a 
treason to punishment. The seeming advocacy and 
protection of such a crime, such a perversion and 
destruction of the fundamental provisions on which 
the whole frame of our liberties is grounded ; even 
the seeming advocacy, for a moment, is a thing to be 
dreaded and deprecated, because of so fearful an 
example, because this is the last stage of iniquity, 
ordinarily, by which a nation's liberties perish, falling 
into the hands of the usurper ; and a fearful thing it 
is for a nation, yet young in years, and fresh in prin- 


ciple and power, to look such a crime in the face, to 
endure the beginning of it, the shadow of it, or to be 
possibly quiet in the contemplation of it. 

But instead of resisting these traitors, our national 
executive has taken their part. He shields them 
with the whole weight of his patronage, prerogative, 
and authority. He adopts and sanctions the usurpa- 
tion, and adds to its bitterness as territorial, the 
crushing force of the nation, binding it down upon 
the people. Instead of guarding the people by the 
Constitution, he has aided in trampling the people 
under the Constitution. Instead of redressing their 
wrongs, he has even taken from them the means of 
defending themselves, and denounces, not the oppres- 
sion as treason, but the defense against it. The Con- 
stitution gives him the power of the army at his 
disposal in certain cases, and he has taken that 
power to enforce submission to a usurpation, not 
while it was a question, or might have been, whether 
it were a usurpation or not, but after every step of it 
had been solemnly investigated by the House of Rep- 
resentatives, and the whole transaction pronounced by 
them to be a stupendous violence and fraud. 

It adds a severity and atrocity to this treason, 
unparalleled, that the known and avowed purpose of 
it was the establishment of slavery in a Territory free 
from slave-law, and under the government of the 
United States, which government is constitutionally 
appointed and established for the establishment and 


protection of freedom, and the securing of a free 
republican government as guarantied by the Consti- 
tution, which gives the government of the United 
States no authority to establish slavery, and does not 
permit the army of the United States to be employed 
for that purpose. Will there be no impeachment for 
such treason, no punishment of it? The people 
would have a right, in dealing with their executive for 
such treason, to lay aside the common forms of law, 
as was done in the trial of Charles I. ; and such 
treason is never outlawed; and therefore whenever 
they are ready to do it, though it should be years 
hence, they have the right ; they may justly call the 
great delinquent to account, and punish such extraor- 
dinary crime in a suitable manner, without the ex- 
press sanction of the Constitution or of statute-law. 

But a people that will endure this, submissively, 
tamely, and not only allow the conspirators and the 
executive in so mighty a fraud and villainy to go at 
large unimpeached, but will vote to sustain it, by 
voting for a political platform, that not only 
recognizes its object, but builds it in as the central 
plank, and by refusing to vote for A man pledged to 
put a stop to this monstrous oppression, pledged 
against the extension of slavery : such a people cer- 
tainly show that they deserve to be inslaved, that 
they are not worthy to keep the freedom God has be- 
stowed upon them, that they are not capable of keep- 
ing it. We sneer at the populace of France and 


Italy, as being not prepared for freedom; but a 
people who will submit to such usurpation and des- 
potism as this, for the sake of enslaving others, are 
themselves fit only to be slaves. Neither France nor 
Italy have ever yet endured a usurpation, or voted 
for it, whose object was to make slaves of others, or to 
secure to three hundred thousand out of twenty mil- 
lions the monopoly of governing the whole, by slave- 
extension and slave-law. The shame of such a vote, 
if such be the choice of our people (which may God 
in his mercy forbid), will be our shame, original and 
alone ; sole and sovereign in it, over all the nations 
of the earth. 

It is these two enormous features in this iniquity 
of the extension of slavery, as now proposed and con- 
templated, and in the measures by which its enforce- 
ment has been provided for, and by which it is to be 
carried out and sustained, these two, namely, (first) 
the enactment and enforcement of unrighteous law, 
taking into fellowship " the throne of iniquity that 
frameth mischief by a law," a thing glaringly for- 
bidden by the Almighty ; and (second) the sanction 
and extension of the crime of slavery as a national 
righteousness, or, in defiance of all considerations 
about the righteousness at all, as a national expe- 
diency, whereas it is demonstrated and forbidden in 
the word of God as a national iniquity and destruc- 
tion ; it is these two things, standing out in this pro- 
posed policy, as manifest as the Andes on our conti- 


nent, as unmistakable as Etna in volcanic blast, that 
put the conscience of every Christian man, every 
upright man, every man that fears God, and there- 
fore fears nothing but sin against him, in angry and 
intense conflict against this policy. And as the 
Christian conscience, the conscience of the whole 
community enlightened by the word of God. naturally 
seeks, and justly ought to find, an expression an ex- 
plosion, in the utterance of a faithful, fearless, and not 
a time-serving ministry, and as the word of God 
ought to have its batteries unmasked, and its shotted 
guns thundering against this wickedness, because, not 
only by the general law of righteousness it is con- 
demned, but God's word signs and seals it by name 
with his curse, and orders his ministers to speak out 
against it ; therefore, unless the pulpit and the min- 
istry also turn traitors to the Almighty as well as to 
mankind, they must speak, and at all hazards they 
will speak, and no power on earth or in hell can pre- 
vent it, because God will have it. He never gave his 
word on this subject in vain, or to be sealed up in a 
Jesuitical silence, letting men go down to hell in 
politic, orthodox reserve and prudence, but though 
its proclamation were as revolutionary as one of the 
seven vials full of the seven last plagues, he would 
have it poured out. For when a nation undertakes 
to stop the mouth of God's word, and to say to the 
seers, See not, and to the Holy One of Israel, Cease 
from before us, this is such defiance of God, that 


there can be no compromise with it, no endurance 
of it. 

Furthermore, a rightly constituted ministry, in con- 
nection with God's word and spirit, and with the 
church and people, are as the discharging-rod at the 
of a galvanic battery, or a compound blow-pipe: 
ust let off the fire, the intensity, the burning 
1 : and it is not theirs alone, but the gathered, 
imulating, and concentrated fire of conscience and 
conviction in the whole community, that thus finds 
: and if, for fear of consequences, or through fear 
an, they will not give it vent, or for a season 
ate, then, if they be the true prophets, it will be 
in them as a fire in their own bones, and they will be 
weary with forbearing, than afraid of speaking; 
but if they are false prophets, the fire that they refuse 
to utter for God, will, at length, however smoothly it 
may go with them for a season, consume them in be- 
half of Grod's justice. 

There is no apology for silence. The iniquity of 
slavery is palpably, undeniably demonstrated in God's 
word, both by statutes and by precedents in its exe- 
cution. Now these two things, every lawyer knows, 
coming together, and having the sanctity of age and 
ited investigation and reiteration, constitute the 
st longest of all demonstrations. If a lawyer can 
refer back to cases in such and such reigns, where a 
statute, even if now disputed, has been illustrated by 
a great decision, on which the eye of the whole 


people, and perhaps the gaze of other nations, was 
fixed, it is a great thing. It would take an almost 
insupposable amount of depravity and power to defy 
and reverse such a decision, supposing it to be just. 
There are some things as glaring as the sun, and no 
more to be denied than the shining of the sun at noon- 
day. And such are the decisions of God's law, and 
the precedents of his judgments in regard to slavery. 
Their light has been shining for ages, and it is a light 
diffused through all history, and enshrined and burn- 
ing in separate urns, in so awful a manner, that a 
man must be an idiot or a madman who undertakes 
to deny it. We have all the statutes in regard to 
domestic service, and all the definitions of oppression, 
and all the statutes against it ; and then we have 
them illustrated in precedents, age after age, and at 
length in one grand and mighty indictment, and trial, 
and sentence, with the penalty announced and exe- 
cuted, in a tragedy of crime and wrath, so sublime 
and awful, that until the crucifixion, there was noth- 
ing on earth to compare with it. 

For our determination of this question, Divine 
Providence has brought us to a point in the world's 
history, where all conceivable lines of argument and 
demonstration converge, from experience, from thd* 
fate of empires, from every array and variety of 
statistics, civil, political, economical, social, moral, 
religious ; from the word and the providence of God ; 
from our own experimental knowledge, forcing us on, 


generation after generation, year after year, to more 
irresistible conviction. There is no subject in the 
world on which there is clearer light, or more im- 
pregnable argument, or a mightier body of it; and 
in six distinct branches of the investigation, I have 
already condensed the particulars, in a manner which 
on the present occasion it is impossible to survey. 
The nature of the law of love, and of the divine 
ordinance of marriage would be enough to consider ; 
for we have, in the crime of slavery, the violation at 
once of the first comprehensive moral law of Jehovah, 
binding us to one another and to himself, and of the 
particular central, guiding, and beautifying law of 
human society ; both these forms of divine statute for 
our good, the act, precept, and habit of slavery, do 
utterly break up and destroy. 

Then there is the nature of the parental relation, 
the sacredness of which is so ruthlessly violated, so 
annihilated, in making every new-born child the 
property of the master and owner of the parents, 
thus exasperating the boundless avarice of the slave- 
holder and trader, and exciting the eagerness, and 
increasing the demand of accumulating slave-power, 
by opening a perpetual channel of this wickedness in 
the breeding of slaves for truffle and gain, whose 
abominations are too gross and horrible even to be 
hinted at. The lamented Professor B. B. Edwards, 
of Andover, once said, in a public sermon, that it 
would be like shaving off five feet of earth from a 



vast and festering grave-yard, if we should attempt 
to unvail those unspeakable moral enormities and 
horrors. To think of the possibility of a crime, and 
a system of crime, so horribly ingenious, and so 
ingeniously horrible, as to take these two divinely 
constituted forms of statute, personal authority, and 
domestic institutions, established for the purity and 
happiness of human society, and for its propagation 
and perpetuity in the same happiness, and to prosti- 
tute them into comprehensive commercial agencies of 
cruelty and depravity, obedient chartered commis- 
sioners of fraud and lust for the increase of property 
in human flesh, the very affections and passions of 
the human heart even in the inslaved being tortured 
into the diabolical service of inhumanity and avarice 
against themselves ! 

The Scripture statutes in regard to service, and for 
the protection of personal freedom, are among the 
most remarkable things in the Old Testament; the 
judgments of God for their violation are among* the 
most remarkable things of all Time, and their voice 
is of Justice to Eternity. The characteristics of He- 
brew law in behalf of servants, the jealous care with 
which the possibility of slavery is excluded, the 
combination of freedom, benevolence, generosity, and 
guardian-kindness, are sufficient, in a world of such 
raging depravity and despotism as shut in the He- 
brew people when these statutes were made, to prove 
them of divine inspiration. And perhaps the most 


impious perversion and libel in all ages ever uttered 
against God's truth is that of sanctioning or licensing 
the iniquity of human slavery. There never was 
such a thing as slavery among the Hebrews, nor ever 
any sucli thing as slave-legislation; they had no word 
in the language to signify a slave, nor did God ever 
permit any such word to be brought in ; the heaven- 
taught dialect refused to entertain it. The word 
always and from the outset employed for servant is 
from the very word used to describe the occupation 
of our father Adam in tilling the ground ; and labor 
was never disgraceful, but always honorable, among 
the Hebrews. 

When they were about to be settled as a nation in 
Palestine, surrounded by heathen nations, that had 
among them the abominations of slavery, as of every 
other wickedness, in full blast, then, in preparation 
for such a settlement, and to guard against the temp- 
tation and the possibility of the introduction of slavery 
from abroad, it became necessary to prepare that 
body of jurisprudence, by which, in every respect, 
their policy was to be determined in regard to this 
fundamental matter in human society. And when it 
was perfected, it was not, and is not now, as many 
seem to imagine, legislation for the regulation or 
neutralization of slavery, as if any form of slavery 
had existed, or was permitted in their social system, 
but legislation absolutely and entirely against it, 
legislation in abhorrence of it, legislation condemning 


and forbidding it under penalty of death. From the 
first grand statute, He that stealeth a man, and 


shall surely be put to death, down to the min- 
utest specifications of oppression, and the forms of 
imprecation against it, such as, " Cursed be he that 
useth his neighbor's service, and giveth him not for 
his hire," " Cursed be he that defraudeth the hireling 
in his wages," these laws are a blaze of light against 
this mighty sin. 

And the fugitive-servant law in these statutes is 
to be marked as in itself a shaft of lightning in rep- 
robation of the same iniquity, and in protection of the 
poor oppressed servant against it; and it stands in 
such glaring contrast and condemnation against our 
own fugitive-slave law, that if a committee of polit- 
icians had been set to contrive a statute in the most 
direct and shameless opposition to that in which God's 
judgment is thus recorded, they could hardly have 
adopted any more efficient terms. God's statute is 
this: "Thoushalt not deliver unto his master the 
servant which is escaped from his master unto thee, 
he shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that 
place which he shall choose in one of thy gates where 
it liketh him best ; thou shalt not oppress him." 

Nothing could be more absolute than the denial, by 
such a statute, of the possibility of property in man. 
And in illustration of this statute, as of all the rest, 
there breaks out such incidental light in the history, 


that the study and comparison are interesting, con- v 
vincing, and satisfactory to the last degree. In the 
statutes you find man-selling forbidden by the law ; 
consequently, in the history you never find a trace 
of any such thing as the selling of servants ; but 
the cases of man-selling always marked as crime. 
You find the restoration of servants forbidden in 
the statutes; consequently, in the history you find 
servants running away, but neither marshal to arrest 
them, nor judges to judge them, nor bailiffs to dis- 
tress them. For a runaway ox, ass, or all manner 
of lost, strayed, or stolen thing whatsoever, which a 
man challengeth to be his, there was provided a 
legal recovery before the judges; for a fugitive serv- 
anty there was no such provision made, no process, 
no writ, no possibility of recovery, because a servant 
could not be property^ could not be claimed as any 
manner of thing belonging to an owner. 

The encounter between David and Nabal throws a 
flood of light on this matter. " Who in the world is 
David?'' said this surly, irritated prince of sheep- 
shearers, when David begged some sustenance for his 
followers : " there be many servants, nowadays, that 
break away every man from his master. 7 ' The man- 
ner of the complaint proves the anger of Nabal to 
think that such a thing could be, and the servants get 
off with impunity. But no hint is given of any man 
undertaking, with marshals or otherwise, to recapture 
them, nor of any such thing as a posse comitatus 


at the disposal of the master for this purpose, much 
less any advertisement of keen-scented blood-hounds 
trained to hunt them. Had there been such a thing 
as a fugitive-slave law against the servant, instead 
of one for his protection, Nabal's language would 
rather have been that of threatening than complaint. 
" You rogues, if you do not take yourselves off, I will 
have you arrested as fugitive slaves, such as you 
doubtless are, you vagrant rascals. I will have you 
lodged in the county jail, and, if your owner does not 
appear, you shall be sold to pay the jail fees." But 
Nabal's language is that of a son of Belial, who is 
furious because there is no help for such insubordina- 
tion against tyranny. 

If we had heard him excusing himself for not sup- 
plying the wants of David's company, by telling him 
that he had lost so much of his valuable slave- 
property that he no longer could afford to be gener- 
ous ; if we had heard him saying, My dear friend, 
you know what a hard winter we have had, and the 
Jordan being frozen hard over, a thing that has never 
before happened in the memory of man, our rascally 
property ran off by droves, and our plantations, if God 
should give another such frost-bridge for the slaves to 
get beyond the river another season, would not have 
servants enough left to gather the olives. ? Tis as 
bad as an underground railroad. I say, if we had 
heard such a dialogue as that, it would have been 
much more in keeping with the state of a country 


where the laws recognized the right of property in 
mar.. If Nabal had lived on the banks of the Ohio 
south side, we should certainly have had him com- 
plaining to David of the ease with which his slaves 
could run away from him, by just crossing the river. 

Now, I say, these statutes, so righteous in them- 
selves, and expressed with such unmistakable explicit- 
ness and boldness, and illustrated so curiously and 
clearly in the course of the history, possess the still 
grander illustration of having great criminal trials 
decided according to them. They have the seal of 
God's own after-interpretation, in his tremendous 
judgments against the whole lond for their violation. 
Nothing could be more complete and perfect than the 
chain of proof. 

Then, in the New Testament, you are to remember 
that the whole nation, and all persons, both Gentiles 
and Jews, to whom the word of God came, stood in 
the full blaze of all this light in the Old Testament 
on this very subject, and therefore did not need to be 
taught anew the iniquity of slavery. Christian mas- 
ters, when commanded to give unto their servants 
that which is just and equal, had no authority what- 
ever in regard to what teas just and equal, but this 
same Old Testament, by which they found and knew 
that property in man was an impossible thing, except 
as villain^ and crime, and that to take the children of 
their servants, and claim them as their property, for 
whom they had never paid one farthing to any crea- 


ture, was to commit the crime of man-stealing, pun- 
ishable, according to God's law, by death. They 
found that everywhere, no matter in what latitude, 
under what sky, the holders, claimants, and traders 
of men as property were men-stealers, and that the 
essence of the crime runs on undiminished, from gen- 
eration to generation, and not only undiminished, but 
increasing as it runs, so that an accepted inheritance 
of slaves, with the claim of their being property as- 
serted, is the inheritance and proprietorship of guilt, 
and a curse from the Almighty. What need of one 
additional word in the New Testament, when the Old 
was so full of unmistakable demonstration ? 

But then in the New, also, a flood of light breaks 
forth incidentally in the Epistle to Philemon. Paul 
had received Onesimus, a runaway slave, and in- 
structed him in the gospel, and he was converted ; 
a proof, by the way, that not the thrusting of men 
into slavery, but their running away from it, is the 
missionary institute, and the means of religion ; as 
good a proof, at least, as any to be brought of God's 
appointment of slavery as the converting ordinance 
for Africa. Paul tells Philemon plainly, that he 
would have retained Onesimus, that is, freely, con- 
scientiously, without the least scruple. Whom I 
would have retained ; could have done it, and would 
have done it, because these divine and generous old 
Hebrew statutes were right before his eye, and this 
glorious old fugitive-slave law, commanding him not 


to return unto his master the servant that had fled 
from his master unto him ; and because, according to 
those statutes, Philemon had no more right of prop- 
erty in Onesimus than he had in the sun, moon, and 
stars, but the poor trembling fugitive belonged only 
to God and to himself, and Paul was bound to take 
care of him. But, suppose Onesimus to have been 
Philemon's properly ; what then ? Why, Paul the 
apostle might as well have retained a bundle of bank 
bills, or a cask of Spanish dollars, belonging to Phile- 
mon. And Paul must have said, Whom I would not 
have retained on any consideration whatever, and 
never thought of doing such a thing, but have adver- 
tised you, brother Philemon, that you might prove 
your property, pay its charges, and take it away. 

But Paul says, Whom I would have retained. 
What ? Paul the apostle, who was of such proud, 
incorruptible, and almost superfluous honesty, that he 
would not even receive a farthing for his preaching, 
but at this very time had his hands roughened and 
chapped with the toil of tent-making for his daily 
bread, and for payment of the rental of his own hired 
house, which he gave to the congregation for a meet- 
ing-house ; Paul, who had written, Let him that stole 
steal no more ; Paul, this apostle Paul, put his hand, 
as it were., into Philemon's pocket, and steal from 
him at least a thousand dollars ; detain from him the 
most sacred thing in the shape of property on his 
plantation? Even the intention was a burglary. 


But Paul really says. Whom I would have retained, 
and would not have sent back at any rate, except 
only as a freeman, not now a servant, no longer a 
slave, nor to be treated as one, but a brother beloved, 
who he was sure would be at once dispatched back to 
Paul himself, by Philemon, that he might minister 
to him in the gospel. And Philemon being a Chris- 
tian, Paul would not even seem to suspect him of such 
an atrocity as that of claiming property in an im- 
mortal being, and a child of God. If he had had the 
least suspicion of Philemon having such a kind of 
Christian conscience, as would permit him to hold 
property in man, you would never have seen Paul 
intrusting one of his own converted children to such 
% man's tender mercies. 

Now these things being so, and God's judgment 
against slavery standing out so prominently in both 
dispensations, Old and New, shall any man dare to 
conceal or withhold these utterances? Ought not 
the pulpits of our country to break forth in denun- 
ciation of this crime, if the people are seen plunging 
into it? Would you not expect a universal, sponta- 
neous explosion, a line of batteries kindled into inces- 
sant, living fire against such wickedness ? Por what 
are God's watchmen set, if not to warn the people in 
such a crisis? Will politicians undertake to bring 
before the people the view of this wickedness in the 
word of God ? A political speech made out of such 
materials, proof-texts from the prophets and the 


books of Kings, would expose the speaker to a strait- 
jacket and a lunatic asylum. Will those do it, who 
say that religion indeed is a good thing in the ab- 
stract, but in politics it only makes men mad ? Who 
will do it, if the ministers of God's word will not ? 
And does not God distinctly say that the people 
should seek, and have a right to expect, the divine 
law at their mouths ? Oh, Israel, thy prophets are 
like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up 
into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the 
house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of 
the Lord. Her princes in the midst thereof are like 
wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to 
lestroy souls, to get dishonest gain, and her prophets 
have daubed them with untempered mortar. 

Do the people desire such daubing? Degraded 
indeed must their tastes be, as well their moral sensi- 
bilities, if they do. We have a vulgar expression that 
answers precisely to the rude language of the prophet, 
and describes, in the modern pulpit, what made the 
prophet disgusted and angry with the old ; it is soft 
soap, and the application of it is exactly this daubing 
with untempered mortar, instead of calling things by 
their right names. Suppose a man, anxious to avoid 
political offense, yet unwilling to finish the long 
prayer without some reference, in some way, to the 
iniquity of the times, should carefully arrange' his 
language thus : We beseech thee to comfort and bless 
the class of laborers under depression, deeming even 


the word ojypression too bold, and quite inexpedient, 
lest it rouse up a political exasperation in the minds 
of the hearers ; would not such carefulness be deemed 
contemptible, or can it consist with power, or can the 
thunders of God's word possibly make any escape, 
any development under it ? No, my friends ; and if 
you ever expect a clear sky, a firmament in which 
God's stars may shine brightly and peacefully down to 
bless you, if you ever hope for stars without stripes, 
then must the thunder have room to roar and rever- 
berate, and the lightning must have free play ; and 
if it seem to be a storm, it is only to give you a clear 
atmosphere, purified of its noxious elements, and an 
unclouded heaven above you to pour down light. 

Here, then, we stand, and this is our vindication 
against the miserable cant, that like damaged fire- 
works, unfit for any noble purpose, sputters and 
snivels in some political and semi-religious newspapers 
against the turning of the light of God's word upon 
the nation's sins. But no vindication whatever is 
needed if men will but turn to the word of God 
itself, and for a moment confront the glaring blaze of 
argument and wrath against the wickedness of slav- 
ery. No man can put himself under that light, and 
any longer dream of innocently and safely evading 
the responsibility of utterance. The crime of the 
establishment of slavery, for which the Jewish king- 
dom was annihilated, having been so plainly marked 
with God's reprobation, and sealed with his retribu- 


tive vengeance, standing out so plainly forbidden in 
his law, and comprehending not only the iniquity of 
personal oppression, but the huge, entangling, daring 
guilt, wholesale, national, of unrighteous law, fab- 
ricated for the mischief, and enforced by government; 
and the immediate action of God in regard to it being 
concentrated and bodied forth in a nation's ruin, that 
nation standing now in the sight of the universe, not 
only on the record in God's word, but trenched and 
scarred with God's thunder, a wandering omnipresent 
form, blasted and blackened, before the conscience of 
the world, as a terror and a warning, there is no 
excuse either for ignorance or inattention. 

The demonstration has a voice like the sound of 
many waters. Predictions and fulfillments call to 
each other across a thousand years. "Thou shalt 
become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword 
among all nations, whither the Lord shall lead thee ; 
the earth that is under thee shall be iron, and the 
Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and 
dust ; so that the generation to come of your chil- 
dren that shall rise up after you, and the stranger 
that shall come from a far land shall say, when they 
see the plagues of that land, and the sickness which 
the Lord hath laid upon it, and that the whole land 
thereof is brimstone and salt, that it is not sown, nor 
beareth, nor any grass groweth thereon, like the over- 
throw of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, 
which the Lord overthrew in his anger and in his 


wrath ; even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the 
Lord done thus unto this land ? Then men shall say, 
Because they have forsaken the Lord God of their 
fathers, the covenant which he made with them, when 
he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt/' 

Can any thing be plainer than this ? What then 
shall we say as to the application of the precedent, 
and the light that comes down from it, upon our own 
sin, danger, and duty, w r hen the iniquity specified, as 
the form of covenant-breaking not to be forgiven, is 
revealed as precisely the same with that which it is 
now proposed to enthrone as the presiding genius 
of the United States government? A thousand 
years after these awful predictions, at the very point 
of their fulfillment, we find the Almighty himself re- 
ferring back to that same covenant, and pouring out 
his unrestrained wrath for the last culminating viola- 
tion of it, in the attempted establishment of slavery ! 
"I made a covenant with your fathers, in the day 
that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, 
out of the house of bondmen ; but ye have not 
hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one 
to his brother, and every man to his neighbor ; be- 
hold I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to 
the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine, and I 
will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms 
of the earth !" Is there no light here, nothing that 
stands in our w T ay, nothing that constitutes an abso- 
lute authority, net to be questioned for a moment, and 


a determination for us as plain as if God Almighty 
spake this very day from heaven ? 

Nay, these prodigies of corporate crime and its 
punishment, being so palpable, so that, wherever a 
roused conscience gazes, if in waking thoughts of 
national guilt and retribution, or in thoughts from 
the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon 
men, the spirit of a dead nation passes before the 
face, and fear and trembling enter into the soul be- 
cause of it, and in stillness, in silence, the voice of 
God is heard ; these things being so, and the nations 
so solemnly warned, that an archangel floating across 
the firmament with a drawn sword in his hand could 
not be a more awful sign : the people, the country, 
the government, that shall now, under such demon- 
strations, take up this crime, repeat this iniquity, 
enshrine it as a sacred thing, set up this Dagon, this 
Baal, this Moloch, and weave its worship into law and 
policy, stand in a more defiant and impious attitude 
toward the Almighty, than any nation that ever ex- 
isted on the face of the earth. And if this iniquity 
is sustained by the voice of the people, the nation is 
seen uprising in the sight of the nations, and pro- 
claiming, thou Sovereign of the Universe, depart 
from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy 
ways ! Well do we know that this iniquity is forbid- 
den in thy word, and visited with thy vengeance, but 
as for us, we will practice it ! 

If God and his word be thus defied, it were absurd 


to suppose that either the letter or the spirit of the 
freest Constitution upon earth will be in the least re- 
garded. While this evil was growing, and in its days 
of struggle, the Constitution was brought in as a 
powerful locomotive to drag the heavy lumbering 
train up the inclined plain it had to encounter ; but 
the moment it reached the summit, and began its de- 
scent on the other side, then the whole order of things 
was reversed, and now the train drives the locomotive, 
slavery drives the Constitution headlong, and if it 
stops, will go over it. The brakes are taken off, all 
regard to consequences cast aside, and we are rushing 
downward with a speed that begins to be measured 
by plunges, and rival despotic gambols, from one ad- 
ministration to another. Will nothing rouse us up ? 
Will nothing rally us, to throw ourselves upon God's 
righteousness, and make our last impregnable stand 
there? Will not our land-marks removed, and com- 
pacts for freedom disregarded ; will not the encroach- 
ments on our liberties; will not the most sacred 
doctrines of our Revolution made a laughing-stock, 
and the maxims of the rights of man a scoff; wil] 
not the outrages upon free speech in the Senate ; will 
not the murders, usurpations, and infamous laws in 
Kansas ; will not the bold iniquity of the proclama- 
tion that slavery is a divine and divinely-sanctioned 
institution ; will not the proposition to re-open and 
restore the slave-trade, pronounced of all nations 
PIRACY ; will not the imprisonment of men on false 


accusations, for the exercise of the common feelings 
of humanity ; will not the expulsion of free citizens 
from their homes and business, without law or trial, 
for the crime of a whisper against slavery ; will not 
the trampling upon the sacred writ of liberty in 
habeas corpus, and the perversion of that shield of 
freedom and justice into a weapon of despotism and 
oppression ? 

What can startle us, if these things fail ? Shall 
we sleep while the very floor is burning, and already 
Ave are half suffocated with the smolve? 

There is a time, beyond which, if we pay no regard 
to principle, if we will not be moved by the most 
sacred obligations of truth and religion, we shall be 
roused by the demonstration that all is lost, by the 
shipwreck of our own interests, by the sword cutting 
through our own vitals, but roused too late. There 
must be something of principle, or when there is 
nothing but interest, God himself will desert us for- 
ever. The aggressions and iniquities, by which the 
fundamental principles and safeguards of our own 
Constitution, as well as the truths of the word of God, 
are scouted and beaten down, call for resistance now, 
tenfold more strongly than ever any thing of wrong or 
wickedness our revolutionary fathers had to endure. 
And the determination on the part of the slave-power 
is resolute, never to cease advancing, till, from being 
the creature of mere local and municipal statutes, ex- 
patriated and branded in the free States, slavery shall 



be nationalized, shall have the whole catholicity of 
freedom, protected by national and international law, 
empowered for transit, and free to reside in Pennsyl- 
vania, in Maine, in all New England, as now in 
Alabama, in South Carolina, in Virginia; and then 
indeed shall the roll-call of slaves be sounded at the 
foot of Bunker Hill Monument, and the whole army 
force of the United States will be on hand, if neces- 
sary, to preserve the muster from disturbance. 

But will there be peace ? Will the perfecting of 
this despotism give us quiet ? Ah, there is a force, 
that neither we, nor the roll-callers of their property 
in human flesh, have calculated, or ever can calculate. 
There is the word of God, breaking in clearer and 
clearer light, the clouds of misinterpretation dis- 
persed, the perverse sophistry that has distorted these 
glorious scriptures abandoned, and the intense blaze 
of God's attributes against oppression acknowledged. 
Then, there is the might of conscience, struggling the 
more violently the more it is insulted and oppressed ; 
a pent-up lire, that will break out, and then, meeting 
a savage opposition, will kindle the whole country into 
flames. This land will be the scene of sufferings such 
as no nation under heaven ever passed through since 
the Jews perished from their inheritance, if the people 
make choice of slavery as the presiding genius of their 
policy. In garments rolled in blood comes on the 
day of decision, if that be the election of the people. 
With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to 


you again. The injustice and cruelty, which, with 
such thoughtless selfishness you have dealt out to a 
helpless race, and which you determine to make the 
ruling policy of new empires, and of millions on mil- 
lions in generations to come, foredoomed by your de- 
termination, will be a treasure of wrath to yourselves 
and your children. Whatsoever a man or a nation 
soweth, that shall they also reap. Swiftly is the 
harvest gathered in these latter years, and rapidly the 
causes of retribution do their work. Hardly three 
hundred years have elapsed since Spain was the very 
first and proudest among the nations ; and Spain set 
the first example of enslaving Africans in this hemi- 
sphere, mid in her colonial possessions never has 
abandoned this guilt ; and to what a gulf of degrada- 
tion has she descended, and through what misery 
gropod ! But if retribution be measured by the light 
sinned against, then the cup of wrath which we must 
drink, if, instead of repenting of our sin and shame, 
we glory in it, will be more dreadful than God ever 
put to the lips of any other people. 

We had fondly hoped that God had chosen us, as a 
people, to perform a great work of freedom and be- 
nevolence on the earth, and by the spread of the 
gospel to break every yoke, and give liberty to the 
oppressed all over the world. But instead of God's 
priesthood to a world, to raise up the foundations of 
many generations, we propose to become the slave- 
owners, slave-breeders, and slave-traders of mankind, 


and this to be our Christianizing mission ! To think 
of a nation, trained as ours has been, to watch the 
steps of God's patient, rich, generous discipline; to 
look back to the little company in the Mayflower, and 
see how God kept the most remote possibilities of this 
sin out of the compact there, out of the first founda- 
tions, and set personal liberty as the corner-stone ; to 
see the gradual growth of little communities by that 
principle, to see the development and guardianship of 
personal responsibility in the town-meetings, and the 
training of representative freedom in the churches, 
and the passing of these principles and habits into 
governments, in republican simplicity and liberty ; to 
see the feelings and opinions, thus nourished and 
fixed, breaking out in our revolutionary struggle and 
sustaining it ; to see the sense of the preciousness of 
freedom, as every man's birth-right, steeled in that 
fire of suffering ; to think of the voice given to it for 
all mankind in the immortal Declaration of Independ- 
ence (now called, by some of the greatest traitors to 
freedom the world ever saw, a rhetorical flourish and 
an abstract lie) ; to see the enlargement and flourish- 
ing of commerce, industry, wealth, and every kind of 
power, political, social, civil, religious, on these foun- 
dations ; to see the beginning of Christian efforts and 
measures abroad, in preparation for the accomplish- 
ment of the mighty mission of religion and humanity 
for which God has been training us, and the doors of 
which he has thrown wide open before us, with the 


offer of a mightier power over the world, than from 
the beginning of time any nation ever wielded; to 
trace all this, to see all this, to have the grandeur and 
magnificence of the mission and the call demonstrated 
even by philosopfters in the study of the configuration 
of our globe, and the very shape of our continent, and 
our commanding position upon it, with all the springs 
of righteous and irresistible influence under our touch, 
and the very mountains, mines, and rivers, with all 
the compass of inventions and discoveries arrayed at 
our disposal, and breaking forth into hallelujahs be- 
forehand, in earnest of the predicted manifestations 
of the sons of God, to deliver the whole creation that 
has been groaning and travailing in pain together 
until now ; to behold all this, and then witness this 
wonderful people, chosen thus, and marked for such 
a mission of mercy to mankind, turning upon them- 
selves, as if seized with a fit of national lunacy, and 
thrusting the sword of human slavery through their 
own vitals ! 

Did the heavens or the earth ever witness such 
madness ! What is to prevent (Bishop Butler once 
asked), what is to prevent a whole nation from be- 
coming mad, as well as individuals, except God keep 
them ? Was there any anomaly or enormity in the 
French Revolution more astounding than this ? To 
behold such a people, madly renouncing this pomp 
and prodigality of God's grace, and, in the sight of 
those nations of the Old World, that are struggling 


for the bare life of liberty, and gazing toward us with 
interest, anxiety of desire, and hope, contradicting 
and repelling the very first elements of liberty, and 
in defiance of God, and in scorn of the whole world's 
prayers, denying the principles on which all our 
greatness thus far, and the possibility of its continu- 
ance, and of the world's freedom and happiness, are 
founded, and applying the whole force of government, 
and the will and sovereignty of the people, to the 
establishment OF slavery as the missionary 
method of Christianity \ and most perfect form of social 
and civil existence in the world ! Oh ! pass over the 
isles of Chittim and see ; and send unto Kedar, and 
consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. 
Hath ever a nation changed gods, which yet are no 
gods ? But my people have changed their glory for 
that which doth not profit ! Oh, ye heavens, be 
astonished at this, and thou earth, be horribly afraid ! 
And, indeed, how is it possible that the nation should 
not start back in horror and affright from the gulf of 
such iniquity and ruin ? 

As often as I think of this subject in this light, 
there rises before my mind the sublime and glowing 
picture of our future destiny as a nation, if happily 
we be found obedient to God, drawn by the venerated 
and now sainted Secretary of the American Board, 
Jeremiah Evarts, the last gift of his devout spirit to 
his loved country. I remember his computation of 
the future teeming millions of the West, and of the 

i'UTUKE KESFUN fc$ I H 1 h I T IBS. k 2*2 \ 

amazing responsibility of those who now decide the 
nature of their institutions, and the molding of their 
character. Would to God that such an appeal could 
come now, this very moment, to the heart and con- 
science of every elector. Look earnestly, steadily, at 
what is depending. The Territories over which you 
now deliberate for extending slavery, or excluding it 
from them, will have, in the progress of two or three 
generations, more than a hundred millions of inhab- 
itants. Think what it is to set slavery there, to 
fasten this cancer at the heart of a hundred millions, 
to inoculate their domestic and civil institutions w r ith 
this plague ! If only what it has been at the South, 
are you ready to fasten even suclt a measure of blast- 
ing and of misery, where otherwise there might be 
such unbounded prosperity and happiness ? Little 
more than two centuries have passed since slavery 
was planted among us, and to-day enough land has 
been worn out by it to make ten States as large as 
Massachusetts. Will you fasten that process on 
these fair and virgin Territories ? But what is that 
to the doctrines that accompany it, and the corruption 
of morals, and the perversion of truth, and the reign 
of terror, and the repression of freedom of opinion 
and of speech, and the despotism of an oligarchy of 
the worst principles on which ever yet any oligarchy 
under heaven w T as grounded, the principles of prop- 
erty in human flesh. An oligarchy of commerce, of 
landed property, of political power by rank or title, 


any thing the world ever saw, is more endurable, is 
less odious, concentrates less of cruelty, immorality, 
and injustice. And by what hallucination can any 
man avoid seeing and knowing that this is the cancer 
and the plague which it is proposed to fasten on the 
vitals of our new and growing empire ? Have not all 
these miseries and evils been realized, and are they 
not all increasing, where slavery has been tried, and 
is now the ruling policy ? And by what process of 
self-deception, or false reasoning, or imagination, can 
any man suppose that these same results will not fol- 
low and be perpetual, if by law we extend this in- 
iquity of slavery over the vast domain in regard to 
which we are now called to determine the policy ? 

Are there any new causes to come in hereafter, to 
prevent, subdue, or neutralize it? Has not every 
thing been tried — divine truth, economical demon- 
stration, the remonstrance of the world, the religious 
conscience, the array v of inevitable consequences ? 
Will God interpose ? Does He not say that, in a 
plain case like this, where he has been warning, and 
commanding, and intreating, and forbidding, for cen- 
turies, rising up early, and sending anew his proph- 
ets, and making the demonstrations in his word every 
day more cogent, he will laugh at your calamity, 
and mock when your fear cometh ? As to the 
experience of evil, misery, and immorality in the 
system, will that work any cure a generation hence ? 
With all that experience, is not the class in power, 


the despotic oligarchy, for whose sake, through the 
entanglement of your property-interests with theirs, 
and the debasement of your moral principles by 
theirs, you are willing to hazard such experience for 
a new generation — is not that class, whose selfish 
continuance in power depends on the continuance of 
that very immorality and misery, increasing along 
with it ? And are not the prices of slaves, and the 
temptation to slave-breeding and trading, increasing 
at the same time, along with the conviction of the ne- 
cessity of still extending this power, in order to save 
it? Where is the element, either of conscience, or 
opposing fact, or resistance, to come in, with any 
more hope of success, fifty years hence, than now ? 
What imagined potency have you in reserve, what 
wand or talisman that you can wave, and think that, 
among a hundred millions of men under the dominion 
of this iniquity, you can subdue it, or turn it back, if 
now, with all your light, and conviction, and means, 
you are unwilling or unable to stop the awful experi- 
ment ? What form of exorcism do you mean to rely 
upon, to put down the devils you will have called up, 
a thousand then, to a hundred now? There never 
was such madness. And if any among us as a people 
go into it without reflection, without thoroughly con- 
sidering what it is we are doing, then, such infamous 
and cruel carelessness, such selfish gambling with the 
interests of future and present millions, thrown upon 



our responsibility for guardianship, only makes the 
crime ten thousand times worse. 

Then, too, we have had at our command already 
the greatest forces of resistance and defense for free- 
dom that we ever can have. Our Declaration of 
Independence, hitherto the hugest colossal maul, 
under God's w r ord, that the angel of freedom himself 
could swing against the thrones of tyranny, and beat 
upon the heads of the ferocious and cunning despots 
of humanity, is no better than a feather dipped in 
olive-oil. You have already traitors among your- 
selves to belie its principles, and scout and scorn its 
noble truths and sentiments as idle vaporings and 
abstractions. The very scaling-ladders, by which 
you had risen to the conquest of a citadel of freedom 
for the world, the enemies of that freedom, running 
up by means of them under the guise of friends, and 
conquering the garrison in their turn, have flung 
backward on the groaning and terrified multitudes 
crushed by them. They take your very doctrines of 
popular sovereignty, and convert them into a net- 
work of usurpation and of tyranny, more subtle, more 
knotted, more implacable, and in league with the 
power put at their command, constituting a despotism 
more hopeless, because the vaunted principles of your 
democracy have been perverted into its support, than 
all the Nimrods, or Napoleons, or even houses of 
Hapsburg in Austrian sublimity of oppression, ever 
invented. Your senators are ready, and still will be, 


to enforce laws, which they themselves have declared 
to be infamous, barbarous, unconstitutional, and fit 
only to be broken ; ready to enforce them, under the 
pretense that they are laws, unrepealed. And your 
executive will still be ready, sustained by the Senate, 
and with the United States army put at his control, 
and the power of selecting and commissioning his own 
creatures to do his bidding, to enforce obedience to a 
pretended Territorial Legislature, constituted by open 
violence and fraud, and demonstrated by the House 
of Representatives to be a monstrous usurpation, 
branded as such by them in their official governmental 
capacity. Your executive will be ready to compel 
obedience to that usurpation, because elected on that 
very assurance, and asserting that Legislature to be 
the existing government, and because the people on 
whom it is enforced are forcibly prevented from 
expressing their rejection of it. And under the 
protection of the executive the tools and agents of 
this slave-tyranny, the framers of this usurping Leg- 
islature and its laws, will still insert and maintain, in 
the very body and heart of them, provisions of law 
rendering their repeal impossible, except on pain 
and penalty of treason, making it a crime against the 
State, either to express opinions against this tyranny, 
or to hold conventions of the people to deliberate upon 
it. and by constitutional and peaceful means repudiate 
and throw it off. 

Never, in the history of mankind, was any en- 


croachment on men's liberties, or any form of usurpa.- 
tion ; under the sanction of a boasted free government, 
so clinched, and clamped, and guarded. It is a 
prison, with the doors barred and locked, and the 
keys inside. It is a combination-lock of tyranny, on 
the despot's safe, with the Constitution itself shut up 
in it, from the people, not for them ; and the boldest 
pick-locks can not draw the bolts, because the whole 
construction bristles with United States bayonets, 
defending it, and it is treason even to attempt the 
rescue. And when you say that popular sovereignty 
is as good and just for freemen as for slaveholders, 
and that under it you will yourselves enter this con- 
tested land, and settle, with your principles, the 
expression of your principles is treason, even if you 
get there; but you can not get there; the slave- 
owners may go there, and carry and work their 
slaves, but you can not go there and work your prin- 
ciples ; their slaves are a property more sacred and 
inviolable under these accursed laws, than your prin- 
ciples; their sl&Ye-properties are the principles of 
the whole usurpation, and they mean to make them 
the principles of the nation, with universal right of 
transit. But your principles are a contraband 
article, and there is no free highway or river in this 
vaunted country of the free, on which you will be 
permitted to sail or to travel, if freedom be your 
known purpose, and if, in obedience to the article in 
your own Constitution, you maintain the freeman's 


guarantied and inseparable right of personal liberty — 
the right to bear arms. Without process of law, by 
the agent of your own executive, your weapons shall 
be taken from you, and you shall be put under arrest. 
The United States army itself, in this case, is only 
not a band of Border Ruffians, because it has got into 
the heart of the country, and is become a band of 
settled, legalized, commissioned ruffians, under the 
great seal of the usurpers at Washington. 

Now do we think these things have begun, and in 
the face and under the fear of a contested election, 
and of all the appeals to the people, and all the glar- 
ing light of demonstration and opprobrium thrown 
upon this wickedness, have still been pushed, and are 
advancing, with desperate resolution, with implaca- 
ble, unfaltering purpose and energy, at so much 
hazard, and that they will suddenly stop, if we throw 
our votes to sustain them, as we inevitably do, if we 
vote for any party whose platform they are, as we 
deliberately do, if we vote for the principle of that 
party, the extension of slavery? Was there ever a 
usurpation of this kind that turned backward, or 
revolutionized itself in the moment of complete suc- 
cess, or when the voice of a corrupted, besotted, mad 
people, accepted it, and sanctified it ? In the nature 
of things, in the nature of despotism, above all, a 
slave-despotism, there can be no pause, nor faltering, 
and there will be none. If the people of the United 
States say, by their popular vote, that they will have 


slavery (already thus thrust upon their bleeding Ter- 
ritories) nationalized, be sure that they will have 
it, with a vengeance. There will be no more let or 
hinderance to its power. 

And our Constitution, as well as our Declaration 
of Independence, will have lost its sacred protecting 
influence. We might have appealed to that in sea- 
son ; but if, under it, we admit that our government 
has the right to establish and enforce slavery in the 
Territories, belonging to us, we cut ourselves off for- 
ever from the use of that instrument, and from all 
appeal to it, in behalf of freedom, as any more sacred 
in its rights than slavery. We can never ground a 
revolution anywhere, no more here, or in Maine, 
than in Kansas or Missouri, on the instrument which 
we admit, by our own votes, if we vote for the exten- 
sion of slavery, gives the government authority to 
establish it. We make slavery national, the moment 
we record this vote. And of this power, and con- 
cerning this all-devouring gulf to which we are 
advancing, it may be said, it has been proved, that 
it never takes a step backward, nulla vestigia re- 
trorsum. Onward you go, if you give way at this 
juncture, and no power on earth can stop you. 

And if the religion and conscience of the country 
can not make you firm now, to stand wdiere you are, 
and hold your own, what hope is there, especiaally if 
the conscience is becoming every day more and more 
warped, ani the religion more corrupt, as no man 


can deny that it must be by the progress of slavery, 
what hope is there, that you can rely upon it at any 
future time, when things get worse and worse, and 
the iniquity is more and more sanctified by law, and 
under law defended by the perversion of Christianity 
itself, what hope, to resist, to revolutionize, to make 
head against the evil ? If you wait for experience to 
convince, to alarm, to resolve you, experience will 
indeed come, and will convince, and will alarm, but 
in the same instant will consume you. When it 
comes to that, that the pressure of this despotism is 
felt upon us, and because we feel it on ourselves, we 
are ready to resist it, though we could not resist it for 
others who pleaded for our help, but on the contrary 
would vote to fasten it on them, then it will be too 
late. God's vengeance for such selfishness will have 
come, and we shall receive, and God himself will 
compel us to drink, the poisoned chalice we have 
commended to the lips of our groaning fellow-beings. 
Out of such selfishness men may call upon God, but 
he will not hear them ; for while he called upon them, 
out of mercy and justice to show mercy and renounce 
oppression, they would not hear him 1 but trusted in 
oppression, and stayed themselves thereon. There- 
fore shall this very iniquity be your ruin. And 
when in the time of your trouble you are compelled 
to cry, Arise and save us, then will God answer, as 
in the same case of old, Where are thy gods that thou 


hast made thee ? Let them arise, if they can save 
thee in the time of thy trouble ! 

But we do not intend to be caught with such a de- 
spairing outcry. We seek God now while he may be 
found, and we call upon him while he is near. He 
has given us an impregnable vantage-ground and bat- 
tery of resistance in his word, against the extension 
of slavery, and here we plant ourselves resisting, and 
here we stand, and here will we stand resisting, and 
if we seem to suffer a temporary defeat, it shall only 
be as the recoil of our own ordnance, a step back- 
ward, to command a new onset, and a new fire. We 
had rather go down with liberty, than sit upon the 
throne with slavery. And fervently we sympa- 
thize with the declaration of the noble patriot, Lord 
Erskine, that we would rather die upon our knees, 
thanking God that for the protection of the oppressed, 
and the safety of our country, we had been made 
the instruments of denying and reprobating this 
wickedness, than live to the age of Methuselah for 
letting it pass unexposed and unrebuked. 





IJrmrtottion of Jfrnitom to IPankinfr 




Deliver me from the oppression of man, so will I keep thy 
precepts. — Psalm cxix. 134. 

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make ye free. — 
John viii. 32. 

The answer of these two texts, one from the Old 
and one from the New Testament, is as if from differ- 
ent quarters of the heavens we heard the morning- 
stars chanting responsively across the firmament. 
How beautiful, how glorious, how divine ! Deliver 
me from the oppression of man, so will I keep thy 
precepts. Keep God's truth, and you shall be free, 
and no oppression can harm you. We praise God for 
these texts, and for the celestial experience of men, 
and, to some degree, even of nations, in which they 
have been illustrated. And here we remark, by the 
way, before entering on the discussion of that freedom 
of thought and speech which God has made our birth- 
right, that in this grand old prayer put by divine 
inspiration into the heart of the psalmist there is con- 
tained an argument of irresistible annihilating power 
against the sophistry that seeks a sanction of slavery 
and tyranny in the word of God. God himself 
teaches us to pray for deliverance from human op- 


pression, that we may keep his statutes. And is it 
to be imagined that God would install the worst of all 
oppressions under the sun as a divine institution, and 
at the same time teach us to pray against it, as the 
grand enemy of our piety ? Men that deal thus with 
the word of God do their utmost to set their fellow- 
^men in the high road to infidelity ; by reason of whom 
the way of truth is evil spoken of, and through cov- 
etousness with feigned words they make merchandise 
of vou. 

Let us now consider the necessity of the freedom 
of truth for the permanence of our free national 
existence. If the know ledge of truth is essential to 
man's freedom, then the freedom of truth is essential 
to man's knowledge. If the truth be hidden or sup- 
pressed, freedom can not exist ; the very nature and 
essential elements of freedom will remain unknown. 

In proportion to the preciousness of truth will be, 
at times, the danger of its announcement. In all ages 
men have been imprisoned, tortured, fined, beheaded, 
burned, martyred, for possessing the truth, and for 
speaking it to others. A free Bible, the very begin- 
ning of all freedom, has been gained only at the cost 
of incessant strife, and blood, and martyrdom. Men 
have waded to this prize through seas of suffering, 
through centuries of persecution. The English Scrip- 
tures were translated and published in continual 
danger and frequent experience of imprisonment and 
death. John Wickliffe's own pen came near being 


dipped in his own heart's blood ; and the noble Tyn- 
dale's types, and fair-printed pages, by which he ful- 
filled his promise to bring God's word within reach 
and reading of every plow-boy in his native coun- 
try, cost him his life, and his last prayer at the stake 
went up that God would open the eyes of the king of 
England. So, what is to-day our commonest and yet 
most priceless treasure, is baptized, almost every 
letter of it, not only in the blood of Christ that bought 
it first, but in the suffering and blood of dear chosen 
followers in almost every age, in whom the remaining 
afflictions of Christ for his body's sake, which is the 
church, are filled up. 

At this day, in our own country, there is a more 
gigantic, deadly, and iniquitous proscription of the 
truth, and conspiracy against it, and persecution on 
account of it, in one particular form, than in any 
other country under heaven. Truth in regard to 
freedom, as opposed to slavery, truth in regard to 
that which is the very object of truth, is not permit- 
ted to be promulgated, and if promulgated, it is at 
the cost of misery and death. Under these circum- 
stances, it is high time to look into our authority for 
the free publication of the truth, and to see how far 
duty to God and man commands us to speak out or to 
be silent. 

I affirm, and it can not be contradicted, that the 
permanence of our free national existence depends not 
on the concealment or repression of the truth, but on 


its universal freedom. Let us see what fixtures of 
truth and freedom have been given us of God, and 
how they form the foundations of our country's worth 
and greatness, and how the unimpaired, unrestricted 
freedom of truth is essential to them all. God has 
given us a Free Bible, a Free Church, a Free Pulpit, 
Free Suffrage, Free Schools, a Free Judiciary, a. 
Free Legislature, and a Free Press. These gifts of 
God, these gradually-perfected gifts of his providence 
and grace, constitute our vast estate of freedom, that 
magnificent and priceless heritage received from our 
fathers, and which we are bound to transmit unim- 
paired to our descendants. And any thing that goes 
against any of these agencies and elements of liberty, 
goes against the freedom of mankind. 

Now, then, let us mark in this matter, first, the 
divinely-appointed authority and duty of the church 
and the ministry; second, of the Legislature; and 
third, of the press ; to sustain, defend, and practice 
this freedom, as the essential, if not the only security 
of our very existence as a nation ; our existence, at 
least, on any terms, in any manner, on which exist- 
ence is worth having. Better, a thousand times, that 
all North America should be obliterated by a concur- 
rence of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as a dead, 
revenging sea over buried cities, than that we, after 
all our light and liberty, should live only by renounc- 
ing the truth that gave us being, or should set the 
example to a terrified and struggling world of a na- 


tion claiming and daring to exist only by sustained 
and sanctified oppression. 

I say, then, first of all, if the freedom of the word 
of God is essential, the freedom of the church and of 
the ministry is necessary in publishing and proclaim- 
ing it. The whole truth must be published, without 
respect to persons, and no part of it kept back. 

For this very purpose, for the freedom of the 
church in this her work, Christ Jesus has constituted 
the independence of the churches in the New Testa- 
ment. Holding forth the word of life, fighting the 
good fight of faith, contending against spiritual wick- 
edness in high places, earnestly contending for the 
faith once delivered to the saints ; these are some of 
the descriptive forms under which the mission of the 
church is presented. If men are to be made free by 
the truth, it is necessary that the truth be made free 
to men, and come in living and experimental freedom 
to their hearts and consciences. The church of Christ, 
for this purpose, is made up of those who have the 
word of God living by the Spirit in their hearts, and 
are set on fire by it, to set on fire others. You can 
not conquer or shut up a church that thus lives in 
Christ, and has his word abiding in it. When the 
Philistines barred the great gates of Gaza upon 
Samson, they thought they had securely imprisoned 
him; but he carried away the gates, bars and all, 
upon his shoulders. There is no limiting the Holy 
One of Israel when he pleases to pour down his 


Spirit, and when his people trust in him, and are 
faithful to his word. His word must convince men 
of sin, if they are ever to be made free from sin. 
And for this very purpose his church must be a testi- 
fying church against sin, and the more proud and 
imperious the sin, the louder the testimony. 

To deny this characteristic object, mission, and duty 
of the church, is to deny its very essence ; for that 
which keeps men in bondage, is error and sin, nothing 
else. All forms of error and of sin are therefore to 
be exposed and rebuked, and especially those forms 
that prevent obedience to God's law, and take from 
other men their freedom to obey God. Deliver me, 
prays the Psalmist, from the oppression of man; so 
will I keep thy statutes. If, therefore, oppression in 
any form whatever keeps man from spiritual freedom, 
the light of God's word is to be turned upon it, and 
the thunderings of God's word are to be directed 
against it, and the church is to maintain that testi- 
mony. The light of God's word is to be turned on 
all forms of iniquity, in law as well as custom. Shall 
the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which 
frameth mischief by a law? The church and the 
ministry are God's appointed court to bring both law 
and fact in the works of men under examination at 
the bar of his word. Concerning the works of men, 
by the word of thy lips have I kept me from the 
paths of the destroyer. Instruction in the truth 
is the way of recovery out of the snare of the 


devil for those who are taken captive by him at 
his will. For this purpose, then, both the church 
and the ministry should be a perpetually testify- 
ing activity and power, breaking down Satan's stra- 
tagems of lies, and tearing away the vail of his 
delusions. They are to have no fellowship with the 
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to rebuke 
them. No church and no ministry can throw off this 
responsibility; neither do difficulty and danger in 
bearing it constitute a release from it. On the con- 
trary, the more alarming and critical the juncture 
becomes, the more earnest and instant the church and 
the ministry must be to meet it. Hearken unto me, 
ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart 
is my law. Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither 
be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall 
consume them as it doth a garment, and the worm 
shall eat them like wood; but my righteousness is 
forever and ever, and my salvation shall be ever- 

The law for the publication of the gospel forbids 
all concealment of it, and all minglings of a selfish 
expediency with it. The law for the publication of 
the gospel requires openness, fullness, freedom, im- 
partiality. It is laid down by Paul in two great 
passages. Not walking in craftiness, nor handling 
the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation 
of the truth commending ourselves to every man's 
conscience, not to every man's sense of convenience, 



or custom, or business, or employment, or plans of 
gain but, to every man's conscience, and to con- 
science not in the sight of human opinions, or stat- 
utes, or governments, or compulsions, or judgments, 
or moralities, but to every man's conscience IN the 
sight of god. And in that other great passage, in 
which the business of the gospel is illustrated in 
detail, as working along with the law. " Foi the law 
was not made for the righteous, but for the lawless 
and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for 
unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and 
murderers of mothers, for whoremongers, for them 
that defile themselves with mankind, FOR men-steal- 
ers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be 
any other things contrary to sound doctrine, accord- 

God, which was committed to my trust." No man 
can truly preach this gospel, and no church truly 
hold it, or truly preach Christ crucified, and at the 
same time shield any form of iniquity from the 
searching light of the law and the gospel, condemn- 
ing all sin. If they shield or favor any form of 
iniquity, or conceal it from the light, it is a con- 
spiracy against the souls of men ; for the object of 
the gospel is to bring men out of darkness into light, 
and out of sin into holiness, and if they continue in 
sin and darkness they perish. 

Hence the terrific woe against those who pervert the 
gospel, and put darkness for light, and light for dark- 


ne33 ; evil for good, and good for evil. Hence the 
command, Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy 
heart ; thou shalt not suffer sin upon thy neighbor, 
but shalt in any wise rebuke him. For, indeed, you 
can not hate a man more infernally, more malignantly, 
than by concealing his guilt from him ; that is the 
devil's own hatred; that is Satan's own game. If 
you know your enemy to be in the prosecution of 
courses that will certainly lead him to ruin, the 
greatest injury you can do him is to conceal from 
him the sinfulness and danger of those courses. If 
you let him know, if you dispelled the delusion of his 
innocence, you would give him some chance of escape ; 
but by concealing from him the wickedness of his 
career, and encouraging his passions and his sins, you 
hermetically seal him with his crimes for perdition. 
You could not preserve a rattle-snake in spirit with 
more certainty for dissection. And thus are men 
often sealed up, and nations also, and the air of truth 
excluded. Thus are men and nations buried in false- 
hood, wound round with grave-clothes. And hence 
the tremendous adjuration. He that saith to the 
wicked, thou art righteous, him shall the people 
curse, nations shall abhor him. If any church or 
any minister dare thus pervert or conceal the light 
of God's word in regard to human guilt, it is just as 
if they put out the light : it is just leading men to 
perdition. They may be tempted to do this by vast 
and mighty bribes, by the pressure of a nation's 


anger, by popular fury in behalf of cherished sins ; 
but they had better incur the wrath of all mankind 
than the wrath of God. 

And therefore the Lord Jesus was ever telling his 
disciples, Behold, I send you forth as lambs in the 
midst of wolves, and ye shall be hated of all for my 
name's sake. But fear them not ; but what I tell 
you in darkness, that speak ye in light ; and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops. 
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not 
able to kill the soul, but rather fear him who is able 
to destroy both soul and body in hell. Pain, agita- 
tion, wrath, fury, persecution, are no excuse for con- 
cealing or perverting the messages of God's word. If 
men persecute you in one city, that gives you no 
commission to cut out or withhold that part or the 
gospel that goes against their sins ; but you may flee 
to another city, and preach the whole gospel; but 
you must preach the whole wherever you preach, for 
you are not at liberty to diminish a word. When 
John the Baptist preached to Herod, he did many 
things, and heard him gladly, but that furnished no 
excuse to John for not attacking Herod's favorite sin. 
When Jeremiah was charged with God's messages, 
their very tenor made him a man of strife and con- 
tention, and the object of wrath and cursing, but that 
gave no permission to Jeremiah to cease preaching, or 
to choose for himself what he would preach, and what 
not. He tried the experiment of silence, but it would 


not do ; he could bear the wrath of men much better 
than the indignation of the Lord. 

Now, these faithful and fearless old Hebrew proph- 
ets were, by the Lord Jesus himself, set before the 
preachers of the gospel as an example of courage and 
of faithfulness. Our blessed Lord never intimated 
that the gospel could be preached with any less oppo- 
sition than the law, nor that his disciples could escape 
persecution, and still be faithful to the truth. If 
they persecute you, fear them not, for so persecuted 
they the prophets before you. Wherever ye are, 
therefore, speak the truth, no matter where ; before 
kings, governors, councils, before synagogues, rulers, 
mobs ; fear not, and keep not back the truth, but pro- 
claim it. Living or dying, proclaim it. Men die, 
but principles live. 

Boldness is the rule, not timidity ; and plainness is 
the rule, not sophistry ; and sympathy with the poor 
and oppressed is the rule, not with the despot and 
the oppressor. Men may pervert the word of God 
by sophistry, and they may consent to keep back part 
of its instructions for fear of rousing men's prejudices. 
But this is fearing men, and not God : this is being 
ashamed of Christ and of his words ; and this process, 
in particular junctures, may involve the guilt of 
moral forgery, and of being accessory to the ruin of a 

There is a great authority in navigation, whether 
plain-sailing or otherwise, an authority of world-wide 


reputation and confidence. It is Bowditch's Charts 
and Navigator. Now, suppose that any person could 
get these into his own hands, with the power of keep- 
ing or of perverting the information at his pleasure ; 
and, suppose there were lying on a coast a dangerous 
sunken reef, and that a great company of wreckers 
on that coast made a vast annual revenue by decoying 
vessels upon that reef: — what should we say of a 
proposition, backed with wrath and threats on one 
side, and enormous bribes on the other, to expunge all 
notice of that reef in the Navigator and Charts, and 
to make the world believe that, though to be sure 
there is a splintered, ragged ridge there, just as there 
is a bottom to the ocean everywhere, yet there is 
also depth of water enough for the biggest ships in 
the world to ride over in safety ? Suppose the ex- 
pounder and keeper of the charts should consent to 
this fraud, and excuse himself by saying, that the 
people in that coast and country would not suffer him 
to tell the truth, that they would not bear it ; does this 
mitigate his villainy? Or, suppose he could prove to 
you that great good was done by the money obtained 
out of those shipwrecks, would that sanctify the wrong? 
Now, whensoever any church, or minister of Grod's 
word, conceals the truth, or by sophistry turns it into 
a lie, or into the support of unrighteousness, there 
the very life of men and of nations is attempted. If 
watchmen upon towers, and sentinels at the gate of 
nations, and God's appointed heralds of salvation do 


this, then will men and nations not only go to ruin in 
these indorsed and sanctioned ways of oppression and 
of crime, but the example of such double and false 
dealing by the guides will be imitated by the people 
in all things, till church and nation perish in their 
Nation after nation has been ruined by such 
abominable sophistry, and by following such sophists. 
is are even now at work in our own country, endeav- 
oring to make us believe that the jagged reef of sla- 
is only a righteous ridge of God's constituted 
bottom for the ocean, only an element of necessary 
permanence, over which there is deep and smooth 
Bailing into the harbor of eternal rest, and out of 
which comes the highest good of the race, and glory 
of (iod forever. But by such sophistry we perish, 
and if we hold the truth itself in unrighteousness, 
there is no hope for us. There must be truth, and 
not sophistry — the truth as the truth is in Jesus. It 
is as essential to our existence as the air. And there 
must be free ventilation of the truth ; if not, then all 
the wasting, the weakness, the destruction, the morbid 
secretions, and the acti\% miseries, of atrophy, maras- 
mus, consumption, and a lingering death. 

II. The freedom of truth and of discussion in our 
representative and legislative assemblies is also essen- 
tial. It is as much more essential here, in our coun- 
try, than anywhere else under heaven, as good laws 
are more essential to our well-bein^. and bad laws 

248 U 1) A CI A I N S T SLAVERY. 

more pernicious, ours being a government of law. 
"Bad laws/' Edmund Burke once said, "are the 
worst sort of tyranny. In such a country as this," 
he added, speaking of England, " they are of all bad 
things the worst, worse by far than anywhere else ; 
and they derive a particular malignity even from the 
wisdom and soundness of the rest of our institutions." 
How true is this of our republic ! How solemnly 
true applied to such execrable laws, such diabolical 
tyranny, under pretense of law, as that which is being 
enforced with lire and murder in Kansas. And hence 
the necessity of the most unlimited freedom of exam- 
ination, disputation, and conflict of opinion, sacred 
and inviolate, or the life of liberty is gone. If the 
foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do ? 
The very argument for patience under oppressive 
legislation, is the assurance that our representatives 
will look into it, and redeem us from it. But, if des- 
potism can bring the terrors of assassination into the 
arena of public debate, there is no longer any possi- 
bility of legally resisting it, and a reign of terror 
is inaugurated all over the country. If anywhere 
under heaven there should be perfect freedom of de- 
liberation and discussion in the light of divine truth, 
and for the sake of equity and liberty, it is here. 
Any attack upon it, any outrage against it, any at- 
tempt to set up the reign of dueling, murder, and 
violence, is a repetition of the worst wickednesses of 
the French Revolution. 

OUTKAtfK IS THE & £ N A T E . 249 

But the records of all history can not show, on the 
whole, so mean, brutal, and dastardly an attack, as 
that of which our national Senate-chamber has re- 
cently been the scene. In the annals of English 
history, never lias there been such an instance ; never 
were bullies with bludgeons pitted against the nation's 
noblest orators. Chatham, Pitt, Lord Erskine, Burke, 
Curran, Mackintosh, Canning, and others, have let 
loose their storms of withering sarcasm and invective, 
and from the days of Chaucer and the Duke of Lan- 
caster down to the time of Lord Brougham, the cen- 
turies have witnessed conflicts of angry eloquence, 
but never was the British Parliament disgraced by 
such a mode of worse than savage warfare. The 
criminals in Newgate would have been ashamed of 
such poltroonery. That a man of courteous manners 
and classical attainments, an eloquent scholar, an 
orator on the side of freedom, not a man pleading for 
oppression, not a man prostituting his talents in sup- 
port of usurpation, or to sustain a fraudulent monopoly, 
or to make the worse appear the better reason, but ad- 
vocating the cause of the oppressed, and the claims 
of liberty and humanity against violence and fraud; 
that such a man, in such a cause, should be attacked 
and struck down, unawares, helpless, writing at his 
desk, in the feeling of perfect security, without the 
least warning or challenge, merely because of the 
freedom and power of his argument and sarcasm 
against slavery, is an atrocity, which, up to the time 

11* * 


of its perpetration, the whole world would have said 
is impossible. The possibility of such an outrage in 
the Senate of a free country, and of the criminal 
going " unpunished, and the Senate renouncing their 
own power of punishment, and refusing to condemn 
the crime, on the plea of not finding a precedent, 
will need to be accompanied, like the most incredible 
ghost story, with affidavits, or it will not be believed 
in history. Is this the inauguration of a policy that 
the people will submit to? Shall the renewed at- 
tempt to install murder as a law of honor, and blud- 
geons and pistols instead of argument as the rule of 
legislation, be successful ? 

It is rare that public attempted assassination, and 
open glaring usupation and murder, find advocates 
and apologists. A man in public life, under all its 
accumulated bonds and responsibilities for good be- 
havior, has committed an outrage on the life of a 
senator, that, done against any citizen in private life, 
w T ould instantly have brought him to prison to be 
tried by the laws of his country ; but the Legislature 
sanction the crime ! Not only the main's public 
bonds and responsibilities, but common law for the 
protection of common society and life, are defied and 
disregarded, and the Senate and House of Represent- 
atives, in refusing the demanded retribution, and 
letting the criminal go at large, sanction the crime. 
They infect the air of our common justice, by such 
impunity, w r ith taint and poison. How long can any 


country stand such an infusion of evil principle? 
When God says, He that saith to the wicked. Thou art 
righteous : him shall the people curse, nations shall 
abhor him ; how long will it be before they discover 
that when the powers that be do themselves sanction 
wickedness, and by shielding it from punishment, 
sustain it, they are among the highest and properest 
objects of the curse of God and man? How madly 
is a government digging down the foundations of its 
own reverence, and destroying its only claim to obed- 
ience, when it pursues such a policy, acts upon such 
maxims, legalizes such iniquities, and protects such 
sinners, that, reversing the very terms of God's ap- 
pointment and sanction of the magistracy, it becomes 
a praise to evil-doers, and a terror to those who do 
well ! 

And here I must say that I fear we are chargeable 
before God — the church and the ministry are charge- 
able — for not doing all in their power to prevent that 
corruption and violence which have been so rapid in 
their progress. They have suffered themselves to be 
deterred, by fear of the reproach of carrying politics 
into religion, from the just and righteous work of 
carrying religion into politics. Mark what I say ; 
we are guilty for not carrying religion into politics. 
The carrying politics into religion is the devil's work, 
and the union of Church and State, and all ecclesi- 
astical despotism and corruption spring out of it. 
The carrying religion into politics is Christ's work, 

252 GUI) A ci A I N S T SLA V E R Y. 

and he will go on with it, till he makes all men his 
freemen by the truth ; and the kingdoms of this 
world shall become his kingdom, for he has promised 
that those who keep his truth, and the freedom that 
rests on it, shall have power over the nations. 

And in this effort to conquer the world by the 
truth, the first requisites after a sincere reliance on 
him, are boldness and thoroughness. We need al- 
ways to bear in mind the great remark of Burke, 
that "good works are commonly left in a rude un- 
finished state, through the tame circumspection with 
which a timid prudence so frequently enervates bene- 
ficence. In doing good, we are generally cold, and 
languid, and sluggish, and, of all things, afraid of 
being too much in the right. But the works of 
malice and injustice are quite in another style. They 
are finished with a bold masterly hand ; touched as 
they are with the spirit of those vehement passions, 
that call forth all our energies whenever we oppress 
and persecute/' 

Suffer me to illustrate the manner in which some 
persons forco their politics into religion, who are 
nevertheless very wrathful if religion be carried into 
politics. The anecdote was related to me by a vener- 
able aged man now living, whose father-in-law was a 
distinguished minister of the gospel in the days of 
our Revolution. The charge of preaching politics 
was one day brought against that minister by a prom- 
inent parishioner. The person to whom he was vent- 


ing his complaint declared that it was not true, and 
demanded of him to point out any instances. Well, 
said he, if he does not preach politics he prays politics, 
which is just as bad. Again it was denied, and de- 
manded to show instances. Why, said the man, I 
heard him say last Sabbath in his prayer that when 
the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, but 
when the wicked beareth rule the people mourn. 
Well, said the other, I don't see any politics there ; 
how can you make politics out of that? Plain 
enough, said the man, for I know who he meant : he 
meant Jefferson. This is a very good example of the 
manner in which politicians sometimes see and hear 
through the medium of their own prejudices, and tor- 
ture the least pithy application of truth into an attack 
against their own opinions. But these difficulties 
form no just apology for keeping back God's truth. 
That must be spoken, let it strike where it may ; for 
though the clamor and the strife of tongues sometimes 
produced by it is evil, the withholding and conceal- 
ment of it would be a greater evil. Christ's own 
gospel, he himself declared, would set households at 
variance, and there are few evils greater than such 
strife ; but yet the withholding of the gospel would 
have been a greater evil. 

The proclamation of the gospel set households at 
variance indeed, but it saved some, in the very fact 
of such variance. The withholding of the gospel kept 
households indeed in the unity of sin and Satan, but 


carried them together in that unanimity down to hell. 
It is better to have dissension and salvation, thai* an 
icy politic stillness and death. It is not to be ex- 
pected that the fearless proclamation of truth, when 
it comes against grand and gainful cherished and 
organic sins, intrenched and citadeled in men's 
hearts, men's purses, men's business, men's interests, 
families, hereditary revenues, national enactments, 
and powerful oligarchies, can be maintained with the 
shouts of popular applause, and all men cheering you 
on, and speaking well of you. As easy as a summer's 
Mediterranean sail in Cleopatra's barge, or Vander- 
bilt's steam -yacht, w^ould be the preaching of the 
truth, with the soft breezes of a personal popularity 
always fanning your temples. Men like to hear the 
truth in pleasant and eloquent essays, and even in 
stormy harangues, so long as you do not trouble their 
own preferred private or public investments in pleasur- 
able and profitable sin. Easy enough it is to preach 
with all your congregation in full sympathy ; but the 
moment you come to close quarters, making your ap- 
plications in such wise that irritated consciences wince 
and fret under unexpected exposure, and your hearers 
begin to cry out, He means me, away goes all your 
popularity. There is a region of rhetoric like Para- 
dise itself, where everlasting spring abides, and you 
may lead your hearers up and down in such green 
pastures, and besiie still waters, and never trouble 
any man's conscience in so doing. But whether such 


preaching can be always faithful to the truth, and 
saving to the soul, is quite another question. 

III. But again, God has given us that other mighty 
agency of freedom, a free press. The instinctive ma- 
lignities of Satan and of despotism are always directed 
against it, just in proportion as its spirit and its 
issues are free and right. Here, then, again, if the 
truth make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 

For the freedom of the press, both habit and 
statute are requisite, for until it began to be known, 
the rulers of the darkness of this world made it to 
be dreaded as an unmitigated evil. It was regarded 
as a monstrous and dangerous abuse, until an ex- 
ample was seen of it. It was to hd chained like a 
wild beast; a quarantine was to be maintained against 
it, as against the pestilence. It only got on step by 
step, under a heap of indexes Expurgatorius, Ad- 
mittiturs, Imprimaturs, stamps by authority, fines, 
imprisonments, and battles against power. The free- 
dom of thought and speech have been invaded by the 
tyrants of the world even in unfinished and unpub- 
lished manuscripts ; and the noble Algernon Sidney 
lost his life for written arguments in favor of freedom, 
the contents of his ransacked private closets. The 
freedom of publication is essential to the freedom of 
thought. There are abuses of all these blessings; 
but the abuses are rather to be endured than the 
blessings annihilated. Let the war of thoughts and 


words go on, and the world is safe ; for never yet was 
there a fair field and fair encounter, and never will 
be, between truth and error, freedom and slavery, 
but truth and freedom must prevail. Truth is the 
natural ally of freedom, and freedom of truth ; but if 
you repress free thought, and its free interchange and 
expression, you produce apoplexjr, or the bursting of 
arteries, you explode the machinery, you break up 
the best constituted society and state. If you in- 
troduce violence instead of truth, if you apply the 
tyrant's plea, expediency, and the oppressor's argu- 
ment, power, you have, in the long run, the constitu- 
tion of the race against you, as well as the edict of 
God's righteousness. And you insure earthquakes if 
you keep down all volcanoes. 

The messages of truth are like the lightning on 
your telegraphic wires, beneficent while you let it 
flow freely, but streaming with angry and electric 
fires the moment you set yourself against it. The 
freedom of truth belongs to our constitution, as that 
electricity to the air we breathe ; explosive only when 
you force it under a posse comitatus, or imprison it 
in company with fire-damp. • The element and agency 
of life in freedom, it is destruction and death if you 
keep it pent up. Agitation, the conflict of opinion, 
the freest comparison and battle of thought, is what 
we need. But if every thing is to be kept close and 
quiet, it may be a stagnant despotism, but never a 
living state. If evils are to be met, they must be 


examined. If festering wounds are to be cured, they 
must be probed. The preventing power of truth, in 
its utmost freedom, is better than the penal power of 
imprisonment and capital punishment. If the licenti- 
ousness of the press is sometimes causative of crime, 
its perfect freedom is much more preventive. 

The Legislature and the press are both, under God, 
the possession of the people : and the freedom of truth 
is essential for both ; they must speak out, responsible 
to God. The Senate is the people's tongue by their 
representatives ; the press is the people's tongue by 
themselves. The Senate is always in danger of press- 
ing to an extreme the rights of government ; the press 
is the defender of the rights of the people. The 
Senate is the people's heart under deliberation, but 
too often under political management; the press is the 
people's heart under impulse; and oftentimes, when 
the heart under political intrigue was going wrong, 
the heart under impulse may step in and carry it 
right. This is always likely to be the case, in pro- 
portion as the press is in more immediate contact with 
the altar and the fireside, the Bible and its livino- 
truth ; and hence the press, made free by the truth 
and for the truth, may be described as the most im- 
portant co-ordinate branch of a free government. It 
is important for its powerful action on all the others ; 
an action which is felt even from the judiciary to the 
ballot-box ; important for the instruction of the people 
and the utterance of the people's voice, daring the in- 


tervals, sometimes long and critical, because of tho 
rapid plunges of the government toward despotism, be- 
tween the appointed occasions when power constitu- 
tionally returns to the hands of the people, by the 
great foundation machinery of free voting. 

These efforts and advances toward the increase of 
executive patronage and authority, and the consolida- 
tion and preponderance of governmental power, by 
which, gradually, government is changed from a 
servant of the people to a despot over them, have 
been continually going on, and every year more rap- 
idly. The sovereignty is being taken from the 
people, and held in the government for its own sake, 
and not for their sakes. And were it not for the 
wondrous frame-work of our State and general gov- 
ernments, by which there is such a constitutional, 
biennial, triennial, and quadrennial return of power 
to the real sovereigns, the elective commonwealth, the 
freedom of our government would not last twenty 
years. Every thing would be sacrificed to power. 
And therefore it is that I have called the press a co- 
ordinate branch of our free government, and therefore 
it is that perfect freedom and eternal vigilance are 
necessary in it by day and by night from year to 
year. It is our great safeguard. It is, of all the 
branches and forms of our government, the least lia- 
ble to corruption, and the most open to direct instan- 
taneous control by the people. Through it the people 
may make the most despotic government feel their 


power, and tremble at it ; may make even its tools 
hesitate and falter in th^ execution of its edicts. 

Now, in view T of these inestimable franchises and 
blessings, these agencies and powers of truth and 
freedom, which we have received from God through 
our fathers, and are bound to transmit unimpaired to 
the generation to come, what is our one grand duty ? 
It is to speak out, and to act out, freedom and truth, 
as siven us of God. It is to love the truth, and to 
contend for it, and to send it forth in its freedom and 
parity, throwing ourselves for success on his grace 
who gave it, and gave us the commission to stand by 
it and to spread it. If the truth prevails, we prevail, 
and are safe. If the truth prevails, freedom prevails, 
if not, tyranny and slavery. That which thou hast 
already, hold fast till I come. In the hour of danger 
stand firm. 

If you contend that your only lawful and Christian 
weapon is the truth, then use that weapon. If you 
abjure Sharped rifles, let us at least see the flashing 
of the sword of the Spirit in your hands. When a 
great sin is like to swamp us, we are bound to testify 
against that sin. But there are not a few, whose 
only talk is against the rebuke of sin, and against 
Sharpe's rifles. If it is the truth only that can 
make us free, then are we bound to proclaim the truth 
for such freedom. The church of Christ, far from 
shrinking away behind paper constitutions to evade 
this testifying obligation, far from alleging the letter 


of limitation in constitutional power as an excuse for 
not speaking out when the Spirit demands it, when 
equity demands it, ought gladly to embrace every 
such juncture, to utter a voice that should ring 
through the world like a trumpet on the field of 
battle. Here in this Book of God is the constitution 
of the church, commanding her to testify, and to keep 
the tabernacle of this testimony wide open. Ye are 
my witnesses, saith the Lord. It is when the enemy 
cometh in like a flood, that the Spirit of the Lord 
lifts up the standard against him, and this standard is 
not made out of the old reiterated rags or relics of the 
testimony of former generations. As well might the 
Jews claim heaven on the ground of being the chil- 
dren of Abraham, as we claim to have done our duty 
in a great and difficult emergency by referring back 
to a testimony of our fathers in 1818, and ourselves 
maintaining a politic silence. The w T ord of God is 
ever new, ever young, fresh, living, and no second- 
hand utterance of it will answer for our duty, nor are 
we released from the duty, nor defrauded the privi- 
lege of applying it anew, because our fathers applied 
it fifty years ago. For Z ion's sake will I not hold 
my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, 
until the righteousness thereof go forth in brightness. 
The watchmen on the walls are never to hold their 
peace, day nor night. 

Not long ago, I saw an account of the installment 
of the old bones of St. Quietus to a place of honor in 


some church that believes in the efficacy of old bones, 
with the pope's benediction, rather than in the proc- 
lamation of fresh living truth from the word by the 
Spirit of God. For people who think that the adora- 
tion of old bones may atone for new sins, this was all 
natural. But for Protestant churches that have 
tongues of their own. on a question of difficulty and 
in a crisis of danger, to evade a present burning utter- 
ance by referring back to the relics of old testimonies, 
to the skeleton forms of past resolutions, is just mak- 
ing a St. Quietus out of them, just exhuming and 
glorifying them by way of apology for their own 
silence. We all have our own responsibility of fresh 
testimony in every age, and can not avoid it. A sin- 
gular spectacle it would be if the oppressed freemen 
in Kansas, instead of uttering their own indignations 
in thunder-tones at the usurpation forced upon them, 
should get together, and gravely reaffirm the resolu- 
tions of the old continental Congress in regard to the 
righteousness of resisting tyrants, or the declarations 
in Massachusetts, in regard to the old Boston Port 
Bill. A mute reference to a church assembly's 
records of forty years ago, may be a very convenient 
mode of giving a quietus to the conscience in shrink- 
ing back from the duty of an outspoken boldness ; 
but even St. Quietus's bones will fail to convince the 
people that there is no occasion for life, no need of 
any thing but bones. 

We are bound by the gift of God's truth to keep 


the love of freedom in men's hearts sanctified. Chris- 
tianized, and to see to it that it be not crucified or put 
to shame by a Christian desertion. The love of free- 
dom for others, as well as for ourselves, needs eternal 
vigilance to be kept burning in our hearts. It is 
a Christian grace, a Christian duty, an.d to be with- 
out it, or afraid of it, is an unchristian baseness and 
cowardice, that God abhors. God loves freedom and 
hates slavery, and he loves to behold the most intense 
love of freedom in his creatures, and the most unmiti- 
gated hatred of slavery and oppression in all its forms. 
The enthusiastic, energetic, unceasing defense of free- 
dom is a thing that belongs, by the right of blood- 
bought truth and liberty, to Christian souls. Events 
full of tyranny and outrage have been just now stir- 
ring men's minds for a season, so that the coldest 
were roused ; but the danger is great of sinking back 
into lukewarmness and apathy, and Christians must 
speak and act boldly as well as pray, and keep up 
these fires and this salutary alarm and excitement, 
from a holier altar than any mere demagogue ever 
visits. Every Christian man, everywhere, should 
speak out, should show his colors: every church 
should do it, every preacher should do it. We have 
a trust for others. Open thy mouth for the dumb. 
If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto 
death, and ready to be slain, if thou sayest, Behold 
we knew it not ; — doth not he that pondereth the 
heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth 


not he know it ? and shall not he render to every 
man according to his works ? We have no right to 
renounce or relinquish the defense of others. We 
might, perhaps without blame, lay down our own 
necks, and permit the oppressor to ride over them 
without resistance ; but we can not innocently keep 
silence or refuse help, when tyranny and slavery are 
forced on others, who cry to us for protection, and 
claim to be defended under the same Constitution 
that shields ourselves. 

It is an interesting and characteristic anecdote of 
the Duke of Wellington, that on one occasion in 
India, when the country was full of disturbance and 
violence, a deputation of English missionaries came 
a long way to wait on him for counsel and advice as 
to whether they could do any good by advancing to 
their post and occupying it in the then state of the 
country, and whether it was not too dangerous an 
enterprise to undertake at a time of so much terror 
and confusion. When the deputation presented their 
case for consultation, the Duke's only answer was, 
Gentlemen, what are your marching orders ? They 
had but just one, Go, preach. Well, then, gentle- 
men, I can do nothing for you. I can not interfere 
with your commander's orders. So with us, What 
are your marching orders ? When God gives the 
truth, he gives it to be spoken, and the consequences 
of it he takes upon himself. The prophet that hath 
a dream, let him tell a dream ; and he that hath my 


word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is 
the chaff to the wheat ? saith the Lord. The wheat 
God will take care of, and the chaff shall be scattered 
as with a whirlwind. 

The time has come, even in our own country, when 
God is looking round for Ezekiel's gap-men, to stand 
in the gaps, and make up the ranks in the day of 
battle. Every generation to the end of the world 
will continue to need them, and the country is lost 
when they can not be found. Of all the illustrations 
in history, of such grand and noble patriotism, none is 
more thrilling and impressive than that of the Swiss 
patriot, Arnold Winkelreid, throwing himself on the 
spears of the Austrians, to make a gap in the other- 
wise impenetrable phalanx, through which his coun- 
trymen might rush to victory. Wordsworth has 
shrined it in immortal verse : 

He, too, of battle-martyrs chief) 
Who, to recall his daunted peers, 
Eor victory shaped an open space, 
By gathering, with a wide embrace, 
Into his single heart a sheaf 
Of fatal Austrian spears. 

It is most interesting and solemnly instructive to 
look back through the whole history of the world, 
and to see how often the whole fortunes of truth and 
liberty have been thrown of God upon single decis- 
ions and courses of such noble soldiers, and some- 
times single acts of heroism. It is solemn to think 
how often the whole cause of truth and righteousness 


must have failed by the failure of one man's courage 
and faith in such perilous junctures. Where would 
have been the principles of righteousness and liberty, 
and what would have been the fate of truth, and what 
the state of the world, if men appointed of God for the 
conflict had conferred with flesh and blood, instead of 
enduring as seeing Him who is invisible ? 

If Enoch, the seventh from Adam, had withheld 
his terrible sermons, and if Noah, warned of God, 
had not condemned the world, if Abraham had not 
renounced his native country for God's truth, if Moses 
had not forsaken Egypt, but had feared the wrath of 
Pharaoh, and refused to plead for the oppressed on the 
ground of not mingling in politics ; if Samuel had 
yielded to' the despotism of Saul; if Elijah and 
Elisha had withheld their testimony against the ty- 
rant Ahab, and the statutes of the house of Omri ; 
if Micaiah, brought before kings and threatened with 
death, had yielded the word of the Lord to be proclaim- 
ed only at the bidding of the monarch and his cringing 
prophets ; if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, had 
obeyed the law of Nebuchadnezzar; if Daniel had 
shut his windows and concealed the worship of his 
God ; if Jeremiah had kept back his testimony, when 
they bribed him and threw him into the most horrible 
of all dungeons ; if Isaiah had been so intimidated by 
the multitude and fierceness of his opposers, and by 
the bloody despotism of Manasseh, as to falter and 
withhold his withering rebukes ; if Amos had list- 



ened to the courtly, cringing sophists that came to him 
from the king's cabinet, telling him to forbear, and 
drop no more of his words against the nation's sins, 
or in the king's chapel. The king's chapel is it? 
And thou, the king's hireling priest ! darest interdict 
my prophesying at the commandment of the King of 
kings. Now, therefore, because thou dost presume to 
interfere between his word, and those to whom it is 
directed, hear thou the word of the Lord. For. from 
the Lord God I tell thee, thou thyself shalt die in a 
polluted land, and thy wife shall be a harlot in the 
city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the 
sword, and the whole nation shall go into captivity. 
Where would have been God's truth, or any grand 
decisive truth, and the examples of its fearless utter- 
ance in danger, examples so much needed, if these 
men had acted on the principles of expediency, eon- 
servatists of their own property, peace, and reputa- 

And in the New Testament, if John the Baptist 
had consented to wink at Herod's adultery, provided 
he could relieve his conscience by a virtuous indigna- 
tion against Herodias's dancing, and if in order to save 
his own head from the axe of the tyrant, he had kept 
back part of the truth, and only preached on those 
subjects, in regard to which he heard him gladly? 
And if the Lord Jesus had not, in all his instruc- 
tions, and in all his preparations for the new and 
freer dispensation, bade his disciples, commissioned 


with the truth, to lay aside all fear of man, and all 
respect to persons and to sins, and to stand, if need 
be, against the whole world, with a thus saith the 
Lord, as their only argument and weapon ? 

A new era of divinest liberty and light, and new 
triumphs of boldness and faith, were thus inaugur- 
ated. And at the very outset we see Peter and John, 
their whole being and character seemingly trans- 
figured as in angelic stature and grandeur, their 
oratory as when seven thunders utter their voices, 
arraigning priests and people as the murderers of the 
Lord of glory, and appealing to their very judges to 
justify them for spurning their commands of silence ; 
whether we ought to obey man rather than God ; 
whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken 
unto you more than unto God, judge ye ? And then 
we behold a still more startling exhibition of fearless- 
ness and power in Stephen's eloquence, full of the 
Holy Ghost, and, with holy energy and fervor, cut- 
ting the whole council to the heart, so that they 
gnashed on him with their teeth, while he charged 
them as stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and 
ears, resisters of the Holy Ghost, the children of 
persecutors, and themselves the betrayers and mur- 
derers of the Just One. 

Was the freedom of Stephen's indignant heart and 
tongue to be restrained, lest it should wake up the 
angry passions of his hearers ? Was he to stop in 
the fierce career of his eloquence, and carefully meas- 


ure the form and manner of his invectives, and usher 
in his terrible accusations with courteous apologies, 
with honeyed palliatives ? And when the church heard 
of his death, or angels saw it, think you there was 
one creature so mean, on earth or in heaven, as to 
excuse the murderous revenge of his enemies, by al- 
leging the imprudent and fiery severity of his own 
speech ? Did the brethren make any question in 
regard to his prudence ? Did they apologize for the 
malignity of his murderers, by supposing that they 
were provoked by his injudicious personalties ? Did 
they say that it was just what Stephen might have 
expected, if he would use such severe and cutting 
language ? And that though his murderers were to 
blame for their violence, yet that they had, after all, 
some excuse for their anger, being rebuked in so ter- 
rible a manner, and accused with such tremendous 
charges? Certainly, it is not unlikely, if Stephen 
had been more quiet and courteous, that they would 
have been less passionate and furious ; at least, they 
would probably have put him to death without so 
much outrage. And could he not have been less per- 
sonal and severe, and more tender and gentle in his 
language? Ask, if you will, that Divine Spirit, 
whose truth he spake, and that ascended Redeemer, 
under whose eye he acted. And if you judge his 
temper on these tremendous denunciations, judge it 
also by his dying prayer of forgiveness for his mur- 


And then we turn to Paul, who watched the clothes 
of Stephen when he died, but soon wore the mantle ot 
his own piety and eloquence, and we see him also 
with uncompromising boldness proclaiming the whole 
truth, and contending for it against those who coun- 
seled a politic silence, to whom he gave place by sub- 
jection, no, not for an hour ; that the truth of the 
gospel might remain with you ; and again, defending 
his own rights as a Roman citizen ; and again, filled 
with the Holy Ghost, setting his eyes on one of his 
malignant opponents, and exclaiming, Thou child ot 
the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou 
not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 
And to John, with the trumpet-note from the Lord 
Jesus, Fear none of those things which thou shalt 
suffer, but be faithful unto death, and I will give thee 
the crown of life : recounting afterward the souls 
that were slain for the word of God and the testimony 
which they held, and disclosing to us the thrones in 
glory, and those beheaded for the witness of Jesus 
and the word of God. And to Polycarp, continuing 
his testimony against the atheists and idolaters, even 
to the flames ; and to Cyprian, asked by the Emperor 
to deliberate whether it were not better to save his 
life by just one grain of idol incense, and answering, 
There needs no deliberation in the case ; and to John 
Huss, What I taught with my lips I now seal with 
my blood; and to the martyr Galearius, Death is 
much sweeter to me with the testimony of truth, than 

270 G D A G A I N S T SLA V B R Y . 

life with its least denial ; and to the church of the 
Waldenses, Ever burning, yet still testifying, and not 
consumed ; and to Luther, Had I four hundred heads, 
rather would I lose them all than retract my testi- 
mony ; and to John Bunyan, If I were out of prison 
to-night, I would preach Christ to-morrow, so help 
me God ! and to John Rogers, All the laws of men 
can not rule the word of God, but must be judged 
thereby ; neither my conscience, nor any Christian's 
consience, can be satisfied with such laws as disagree 
with that word ; and to Latimer, I am bound in con- 
science to utter such things as God hath put into my 
mind. He will not have his faith defended by man 
or man's power, but by His word only, in a way far 
above man's power or reason. And, when the fire of 
his martyrdom was lighted, Be of good comfort and 
play the man : we shall, by the grace of God, this day 
light a candle in England which I trust will never 
be put out. And to this day that light is burning ; 
and from that time onward, all English history and 
literature is consecrated by it. This is by the grace 
of God. 

And now if I were to add to these words only a 
few similar testimonies, even from the natural heart 
of man in its noble enthusiasm for truth and freedom, 
notices scattered in the history of all countries and in 
all times, it would be a volume. And these martyr 
words and sayings, wrung out from human hearts and 
consciences by suffering, and danger, and death, are 


the very life-blood of history. There is that element 
in suffering for truth, which embalms the truth for- 
ever and forever. These lights are set as stars in 
the firmament ; all history besides might perish, but 
many of these battle-words and martyr testimonies 
would still lighten the traditional memory of man- 
kind from generation to generation. They are the 
intensest historic radiances of humanity itself. They 
are as great lights let down behind a vast transparency, 
and lighting up the whole surrounding scenery, which 
otherwise would be chaos and darkness. The disci- 
ples and the church of Christ must have lost not only 
that Christian savor, which should make them the salt 
of the earth, but even the common spirit of that love 
of freedom native to our race, if they renounce and 
disown the opportunity and responsibility of kindling 
such lights. If they refuse to bear testimony to the 
truth, when the truth is in danger, and its defenders 
are stricken down in blood, and will venture a timid 
utterance, only where it is all applause and security, 
where can men turn for hope, or where on earth can 
they look for refuge ? 

Let us then esteem it one of the noblest of all priv- 
ileges to be engaged in such a service. Let us hold 
up the banner of truth and righteousness, and fling its 
folds to all the winds of heaven. Let us hail the op- 
portunity of the defense of freedom on religious 
grounds. Let nothing drive us from our citadel in 


God's word, and our refuge in prayer, and nothing 
need terrify us, nor can any thing overcome us, for 
the cause of truth and freedom is God's cause, and 
the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. 





For sale at the Depository, No. 28 West Fourth street, Cm. 

God against Slavery 

This volume contains the sermons delivered by Kev. Dr. 
Cheever, to immense crowds, at the Church of the Puritans and 
elsewhere, and his magnificent address at the Academy of Music, 
divided into chapters. 

12mo., 272 pages, printed on handsome paper, in large type, 
and neatly bound in cloth, 50 cents. 

Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith. 

A series of Tracts on the absurdity of Atheism, Pantheism, 
and [Rationalism. By Kev. K. Patterson, 12mo., 320 pp., cloth, 
50 cents. A work admirably adapted to the wants of the times. 

Evidence on the Slave Trade. 

12mo., 117 pages, cloth, 25 cents. 
Evidence of over sixty men before a select committee of the 
House of Commons, in England, in 1790-91. 
Hints to Christians. 
Designed to aid in their efforts to convert men to God. Flex- 
ible cloth, stamped, 18 mo., 31 pp., 10 cents. Paper covers, 4c. 
Sinner's Friend. 
32 pages, paper cover, 3 cents. 
A reprint, more than Two Million copies of which have been 
published in twenty-six different languages. It contains 32 
awakening addresses and invitations to sinners to come to Christ. 


Gospel Fruits, or Bible Christianity Illustrated. 

192 passes, 18mo., cloth, gilt. Price 30 cents. 
A PRIZE ESSAY. By Maria Goodell Frost. 
11 Finely illustrating the neglected fact, that true religion can 
not exist without sympathy for the oppressed." — Congregationalist. 
Aunt Sally; or the Cross the Way of Freedom. 
A narrative of the slave life and purchase of the mother of 
Rev. Isaac Williams, of Detroit, Michigan. 18mo., cloth, gilt, 
216 pp., illustrated with life-like likenesses. Price 35 cents. 

Memoir of Mrs. Mary Lundie Duncan. 

310 pp., 18mo., cloth, gilt, 40 cents. 
This edition contains the whole of that accomplished and pious 
ladys memoirs. 

Christ and Adornments. 
A prize essay on Christians adorning their persons with jewelry 
and gay and costly attire, etc. 18mo., 171 pp., cloth, gilt, 25c. 

Letters to Sabbath School Children on Africa. 

Three volumes. By George Thompson, missionary to the Mendi 
Minion, West Africa. 18mo., 200 pp. each, doth, gilt, 30c. each. 





Price of Tracts, 15 pages for One Cent. 

No. 1. Separation from Sin and Sinners, 24 pages. 

2. Hebrew Servitude and American Slavery Compared, 8 pp. 

3. Premium Tract on Slavery, 24 pp. 

4. Agitation the Doom of Slavery, 16 pp. 

5. Slavery and the Bible, 12 pp. 

6. The Bible gives no Sanction to Slavery, 32 pp. 

7. Sale of a Family of Slaves, in Washington, D. C, 4 pp. 

8. What is the Maine Law ? 8 pp. 

9. The Little Coat, 8 pp. 

10. The Duty of Voting for Bighteous Men, 8 pp. 

11. The Corn Question, 8 pp. 

12. Why the Sale of Intoxicating Drinks should be prohibited, 4 pp. 

13. What it is to Preach the Gospel, 24 pp. 

14. Colonization Wrong, by John G. Fee, 48 pp. 

15. Fellowship with Slavery, 32 pp. 

16. Is it Expedient to Introduce Slavery into Kansas ? 24 pp. 

17. Earthly Care a Heavenly Discipline, 8 pp. 

18. The Three Dangers ; or, Bead, Watch, Pray, 4 pp. 

19. Pleas for Slavery Answered, 24 pp. 

20. A Tract for the Free States, 12 pp. 

21. A Tract for the Slaveholding States, 12 pp. 

22. I Don't Believe in Beligion, 12 pp. 

23. Did the World make Itself? 16 pp. 

24. Is God Everybody, and Everybody God ? 16 pp. 

25. Have we any Need of the Bible ? 24 pp. 

26. Who Wrote the New Testament ? 16 pp. 

27. Is the Gospel Fact or Fable? 16 pp. 

28. Can we Believe Christ and his Apostles? 16pp. 

29. Prophecy, 32 pp. 

30. Moses and the Prophets, 28 pp. 

31. Infidelity among the Stars, 28 pp. 

32. Daylight before Sunrise, 36 pp. 

33. Telescopic Views of Scripture, 32 pp. 

34. Science or Faith, 32 pp. 

35. The Old and the New Way, 4 pp. 

36. The Sabbath the Working Man's Charter, 8 pp. 

37. The Family and Slavery, 24 pp. 

38. Ornamental and Costly Attire, 12 pp. 

39. Be ye also Ready, (to impenitents,) 4 pp. 

40. The Family Relation as affected by Slavery, 24 pp. 

41. A Brand from the Burning, (Temperance,) 4 pp. 

Thirty other one page Tracts, both in English and German. 

The following are 32rao., on colored paper: 

Earthly Care a Heavenly Discipline, 16 pp., one cent. 

We see Jesus, 12 pp. A Brief History of our Lord, in simple verse, for 

Children. One cent. 
No. 1. How shall I Honor Jesus to-day ? 4 pp., 32mo. 

2. You Don't Talk of Jesus at Home, 4 pp. 

3. The Three Wishes, 4 pp. 

4. Think of your Soul, 4 pp. 

5. You are Immortal, 4 pp. 

These five are of a size to inclose in a letter envelope. 

(jer trade Lee» or the NartJiern Cousin. 

138 pp., 18mo., cloth, gilt, 25 cents. 

Harriet and Ellen, or the Orphan Girls. 

L22 pages, L8mo., cloth, gilt, 25 cents. 

Iiittle Jeminie and his Mother and the Kentucky Slave Girl. 

64 pages, 18mo., cloth, gilt, price 15 cents. 

Walter Browning, or the Slave's Protector. 

84 pages, 18mo., cloth, gilt, 20 cents. 

Founded on fact. 

Letters to a Young Christian. 

18mo., 108 pages, cloth, gilt, 20 cents. 

A profitable guide to those entering "the narrow way that 

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Not a 3Iinute to Spare. 

116 pages, L8mo., cloth, gilt, 20 cents. 

A Home in the South, or T>vo Years at Uncle Warren's. 

14o pages, L8mo., cloth, gilt, 25 cents. 
Exhibiting the sinfulness of slaveholding, in terms suited to 
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effects upon society where it exists. 

Memoir of Rev. Levi Spencer. 
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Child's Hook on Slnvery, or Slavery made Plain. 

L8mo., L43 pages, doth, gilt, 25 cents. 

Seek Christ Knrly. 
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Little Things. 

18mo., 72 pages, cloth, gilt, 1*5 cents. 

The Kdmondsoii Family and the Capture of the Schooner Pearl. 

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By Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe. It includes the whole 
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The Power of Prayer. 
With other Christian duties, illustrated by examples. 
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A Short Memoir of Samuel Donnell, Esq. 
40 pages, 18mo., hound, 10 cents. 
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of the Jubilee. Lev. xxv: 9-46. 

By Rev. Samuel Crothers. 18mo., cloth, 30 cents. 



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Orders for Books, Donations, and all Communications for the 
Society, or the Christian Press, should be addressed to 

GEO. L. WEED, Cincinnati, 0. 


Office and Depository of the Am. Reform Tract and Book Society, 

No. 28 West Fourth Street, Cincinnati, January, 1859. 

The American Reform Tract and Book Society, had its 
origin in the fact, that American Slavery was receiving no ade- 
quate notice from any of our national publication societies, and 
its issues have accordingly consisted largely of faithful yet calm 
discussions, vivid yet truthful narrative descriptions of that sin, 
adapted both to old and young, — the Bible being the basis of 
all of them. Of these the Society has issued sixteen Tracts, 
(348 pp.,) and sixteen Volumes, (2,800 pp.,) most of the latter 
illustrated, and suitable for Sabbath School Books; also, several 
works for mature minds. We desire to go on with this class of 
publications as rapidly as possible, that the whole country, espe- 
cially the minds of the young, may be flooded with light on the 
great wickedness of Slavery. 

But this is not all our work. We are a Christian Tract 
Society, our Constitution covering the broad ground of the 
Reformation ; and Slavery occupies more of our attention, only 
because the danger from that source is now most imminent, and 
the need of information so great. Our list of publications com- 
prises, besides the Tracts and Books on Slavery, a series of thir- 
teen Tracts on Infidelity, admirably adapted to meet its present 
subtle forms ; also, Books and Tracts on intemperance, Sabbath- 
breaking, extravagance in dress, specific Christian duties, and in 
the department of Christian biography. We send out monthly 
nine thousand of our Record, the Christian Press, to friends and 
patrons, free of charge. 

The Society has five thousand pages of stereotype plates, and 
a good supply of its Books and Tracts. Except these, it has no 
property — no houses or presses — not aiming to be an endowed or 
funded institution, but only the organ of a healthful and vigor- 
ous Christian sentiment, its foundation being in the heart of 

The following gentlemen compose the Board of Directors, and 
in common with other friends of Freedom and Reform, are de- 
sirous to add largely to the Catalogue of Tracts and Books, 
which will be done as rapidly as funds are provided. 

Rev. H. M. STORKS, Congregational. Rev. B. P. Aydelott, D. D., Presbi/n. 
Rev. J. J. BLAISDELL, Presbyterian. LEVI COFFIN. Friend. 
Rev. H. BUSHNELL, Congregational. JOHN JOLLIFFE, Esq., Baptist. 
Rev. R. H. POLLOCK, Ass. Presbyfrn. A. E. D. TWEED, Presbyterian. 
Rev. G. D. ARCHIBALD, Ass. Ref. Pr.S. C. FOSTER, Congregational. 
Rev. T. D. CROWE, Methodist. Dr. J. P. WALKER, Congregational. 

Orders for Books, Donations, and all Communications for the 
Society, should be addressed to 

G-EO. L. WEED, Corresponding Sec'y and Treas. y 

nTN<;^NAT7, <>HTO. 

-# *- 

Democracy of tlie Bible. 

Christianity, avoiding anarchy on 
the one hand and despotism on the other,, 
sets the race on a path of unlimited ad 
vancement. It pronounces all men equal. 
In express terms, the Christian revelation 
declares all nations of the earth to be of 
one blood ; it pronounces all men equally 
the subjects of one king; it makes the 
value of a soul infinite, and shows no difter- 
ence between the worth of that of a beg- 
gar and that of a prince. Look into the 
stable of Bethlehem, on that night when 
crowned sage and humble shepherd knelt 
by the. cradle of that babe who was their 
common king; do you not see, in that 
spectacle, the bond of an essential equal- 
ity uniting all ranks, and making the re- 
gal purple and the peasant's russet 
faint and temporary distinctions? Well 
might Coleridge say, that the fairest flow- 
er he ever saw climbing round a poor 
man's window, was not so beautiful in his 
eye as the Bible which he saw lying 
within. If all classes forsook the gospel, 
one might expect the poor, the hard-toil 
ing, the despised, to cling to it. What- 
ever Christianity may have become in our 
churches and in our times, the great class 
of the workers can find in its aspects no 
excuse for abandoning itself, unless they 
can show that the churches have re-writ- 
ten the Bible; unless they can allege 
that it no longer exhibits the divine Found- 
er of Christianity preaching to the poor, 
companying with publicans and sinners ; 
unless they can show that it was the sanc- 
tioned usage of apostolic times, to honor 
the rich in the Cbristain assemblage; 
unless in one word, they can deny that 
the gospel holds forth to every man the 
prospect of a king and priest to God.—